Literary Precedents for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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Melville's Moby Dick (1851) can be compared to Verne's novel for a number of reasons. Like Captain Nemo, Captain Ahab is sailing the ocean possessed by the idea of revenge. Ahab, like Nemo, is deeply affected by the ocean, which encompasses his life. Yet the Nautilus, as vehicle of destruction, can hardly be compared to the great white whale, Moby Dick. While the whale is the nemesis of Ahab, the Nautilus is merely a creation of Nemo; it may resemble a ferocious sea creature, but it has no life or will of its own.

Another novel that deals with the cruelty as well as the benevolence of the sea is Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea (1952; see separate entry). Like the protagonists of most sea stories, the old man does not interact much with human society. Like the heroes of other sea stories, he tends...

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This section contains 176 words
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