Call him victorious. When Herman Melville's Moby Dick was first published in London in 1851 under the title The Whale, it more or less sank. The fact that the publisher had accidentally left out the epilogue didn't help. Reviews were mixed, and in the ensuing 40 years, the duration of the author's lifetime, only about 3,000 copies of the epic sold. Melville, celebrated before the release of Moby Dick, died in near obscurity in 1891. But Ishmael, Captain Ahab, and the great white whale hit it big in the 20th century, making their way on to student reading lists everywhere.
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