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American Literature 101: Moby-Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville


The main aim of the American Literature 101 series is to offer readers prominent authors and their impacts on their time. With their distinctive powers and values, American Literature brought a new impact to world literature. Consisting of different races and identities from all around the world, the United States of America both culturally and literarily has an important place in the world. Key elements are individuality and uniqueness, hence the reader can understand the hidden part of human nature. The huge divergent identical background of the United States of America shows the exceptional nation’s culture and literature. With the corresponding texts, the reader can understand the core of the American culture better. Writers of the United States of America have been gathering striking issues throughout centuries.

American Literature series consist of five main articles:

1. American Literature 101: Awakening to the New Nation, Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

2. American Literature 101: New American Hero Natty Bumppo, The Pioneers by James Cooper

3. American Literature 101: Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

4. American Literature 101: Moby-Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville

5. American Literature 101: Moral Dilemma between Europe and America, Daisy Miller by Henry James

American Literature 101: Moby-Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick is appreciated as one of the best works of American Literature and art with themes that point to the American character and experience. Because of that, its importance has a great effect on American literary history. Herman Melville, an American novelist, poet, the short-story writer is counted as one of the most important Dark Romantic writers of the 19th century in American Literature. Hence, his novel Moby-Dick offers to readers a huge perspective on the relationship between humanity and their war against nature. As William V. Spanos underlines, ‘’The critics of the revival apotheosized Moby-Dick as an American masterpiece because it intuited and expressed an essential human ‘’spiritual’’ Real that, in its integral and universal comprehensiveness transcended the ideological partiality of American sociopolitical existence." (Spanos 17)

Portrait of Herman Melville, the portrait now hangs in the Edison and Newman Room in the Houghton Library at Harvard University