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ELA High School Medium ELL

Herman Melville's Influences for 'Moby-Dick'

Herman Melville’s classic American novel “Moby-Dick” tells the story of whaling captain Ahab’s quest to kill the white whale Moby-Dick. This somewhat simplistic plot retelling misses the thematic and historical undertones of this massive novel. The novel was a critical and commercial failure when it was released in 1851 but experienced a resurgence after World War I. Listen to learn about the writing of “Moby-Dick” and how Melville was influenced by the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Shakespeare, as well as the tensions of pre-Civil War America.

Civil War Literature US History I Biography

Story Length: 7:53

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National Public Radio © 2011 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.

AIR DATE: 10/17/2011

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