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U of L unveils first edition of 'Moby-Dick'

The University of Louisville has acquired a rare first-edition copy of the American classic novel "Moby-Dick," officials announced April 18.

U of L President James R. Ramsey unveiled the book at a ceremony at the school's William F. Ekstrom Library.

Ramsey said the book acquisition was inspired by U of L English professor Sena Naslund, Kentucky's poet laureate, who earned international acclaim for the book "Ahab's Wife." That novel uses Melville's tale as a launching pad for a story about the spiritual journey undertaken by Una, wife of Captain Ahab, during and after his epic pursuit of the great white whale. U of L acquired the book in the name of Naslund's mother, Flora Lee Sims Jeter.

"'Moby-Dick' stands on its own as a classic work of American fiction, and any library would be proud to have such a work in its possession," Ramsey said. "But we have a unique opportunity to pair this masterpiece with the brilliant 'Ahab's Wife' to highlight the work of Sena Naslund and to bring attention to the scholarly work taking place throughout U of L."

Rader noted that the acquisition of "Moby-Dick" also will help showcase the university's extensive rare books collection.

"Our library is noted as a leader in technology and information literacy," Rader said. "Many people don't realize all the other resources available to them, including our rare books and photographic archives collections."

The unveiling is part of a series of events surrounding the acquisition of the U of L library system's 2 millionth volume. A ceremony announcing that book and an event marking the opening of a $14.2 million expansion of the library will take place in the fall.

The U of L library is ranked among the top 100 libraries in the nation by the Association of Research Libraries.

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