This is the account of Ishmael from Genesis Chapters 16, 17, 21, 25
And the angel of the LORD said to her, Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has heard your affliction.
Ishmael – Part I « Brie: It's What's For Breakfast
The resulting work was finally shipped to Bentley onSeptember 10, 1851: although it received many positive reviews,it sold poorly and accelerated the decline of Melville's literaryreputation.The Epilogue, explaining how Ishmael survived thedestruction of the Pequod, was inadvertently omittedfrom Bentley's edition, leading many British critics to condemnMelville for leaving no one alive to tell the first-personnarrative (see fromLondon Spectator below).
Melville's mysteries provoke wonder at the authorrather than terror at the creation; the soliloquies and dialoguesof Ahab, in which the author attempts delineating the wildimaginings of monomania, and exhibiting some profoundlyspeculative views of things in general, induce weariness orskipping; while the whole scheme mars, as we have said, thenautical continuity of story -- greatly assisted by variuouschapters of a bookmaking kind.
The strongest point of the book is its "characters." Ahab,indeed, is a melodramatic exaggeration, and Ishmael is littlemore than a mouth-piece; but the harpooners, the mates, andseveral of the seamen, are truthful portraitures of the sailor asmodified by the whaling service....
It is a canon with some critics that nothing should beintroduced into a novel which it is physically impossible for thewriter to have known: thus, he must not describe the conversationof miners in a pit if they all perish.