Moby-Dick Criticism

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The first edition of Moby-Dick received a mixed reception. It was condemned for its unusual narrative style and for its irreverent tone. The proportion of positive to negative reviews was highest in England, where the book had been published in three volumes under the title The Whale. There were other differences between the American and English editions. The English publisher, Bentley, positioned the Extracts section at the end of the book and did not include the Epilogue at all. The main body of the text had also been abridged to cut out much of the overt blasphemy and sexual suggestiveness.

One of the earliest and most expansive reviews appeared in the London Morning Advertiser, on October 24, 1851. In that review the rich, multi-faceted texture of the book was considered a strength. The novel was praised for its "High philosophy, liberal feeling, abstruse metaphysics popularly phrased, soaring speculation, a style...

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This section contains 890 words
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.