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The work is an epic sea-story of Captain Ahab's voyage in pursuit of Moby Dick, a great white whale. It initially received mixed reviews and at Melville's death in 1891 was remembered, if at all, as a children's sea adventure, but now is considered one of the Great American Novels and a leading work of American Romanticism. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (first published in 1851) is the sixth book by American writer Herman Melville. Its reputation has steadily risen during the twentieth-century and now it is recognized as a highlight in the history of human creativity, comparable to the six weeks in 1788 when Mozart composed his final three symphonies.