Moby-Dick was published on this day in 1851. The novel opens with “Call me Ishmael,” perhaps the most famous opening line in all literature. It’s author, Herman Melville, himself worked as a whaler and Moby-Dick is likely based on two actual events at sea. One is the sinking of the Nantucket ship, Essex, in 1820 off the coast of South America after being rammed by a sperm whale. The second was the killing of an albino sperm whale named Mocha Dick in Chilean waters.