"First, we must ask, does it have to be a whale? While this is a rather delightful, if somewhat esoteric, plot device, we recommend an antagonist with a more popular visage among the younger readers. For instance, could not the Captain be struggling with a depravity towards young, perhaps voluptuous, maidens?"
It's safe to say that Moby Dick would have been a rather different novel if Herman Melville had taken onboard publisher Peter J. Bentley's advice.
This is one of several excerpts from letters rejecting now-famous works collected together in this article. I wonder what Gertrude Stein made of having her style parodied and mocked by a publisher to whom she'd sent her work for approval? Arthur Fifield's response is cruel but amusing at the same time.