Archives & Special Collections Gallery Exhibit




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Creation Date

Fall 2014


Artifact Label:

Herman Melville (1819-1891)
"The Town-Ho Story”
Harper's New Monthly Magazine
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1850-c1900

Moby-Dick, chapter 54, “The Town-Ho Story,” was published separately prior to the printing of the novel. The footnote (bottom of page 658) reads, “From ‘THE WHALE.’ The title of a new work by Mr. Melville, in the press of Harper and Brothers, and now publishing in London by Mr. Bentley.” Critics have speculated and debated whether the “Town-Ho Story” was written prior to Moby-Dick and inspired the rest of the novel or whether it was written after much of the novel was completed, and was simply inserted, something that Melville was known to do.