Quotations From HERMAN MELVILLE

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  • What man who carries a heavenly soul in him, has not groaned to perceive, that unless he committed a sort of suicide as to the practical things of this world, he never can hope to regulate his earthly conduct by that same heavenly soul?
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XIV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971). Written by Plotinus Plinlimmon, in a pamphlet.

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  • In tremendous extremities human souls are like drowning men; well enough they know they are in peril; well enough they know the causes of that peril;Mnevertheless, the sea is the sea, and these drowning men do drown.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).

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  • Strange, how the coolest valour may go along with a hot brain-pan.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Major Gentian and Colonel J. Bunkum" (posthumous), p. 376, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924). Referring to Colonel Bunkum.
  • Stripped of the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden,—what a sorry set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear!
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 25, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968).

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  • The women, who had congregated in the groves, set up the most violent clamors, as they invariably do here as elsewhere on every occasion of excitement and alarm, with a view of tranquilizing their own minds and disturbing other people.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Typee (1846), ch. 17, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 1, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1968). On the occasion of minor hostilities between the Typees and a neighboring tribe.

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  • The food of thy soul is light and space; feed it then on light and space. But the food of thy body is champagne and oysters; feed it then on champagne and oysters; and so shall it merit a joyful resurrection, if there is any to be.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).

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  • In the case of pirates, say, I would like to know whether that profession of theirs has any peculiar glory about it. It sometimes ends in uncommon elevation, indeed; but only at the gallows.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 53, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).

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  • Is it possible, after all, that spite of bricks and shaven faces, this world we live in is brimmed with wonders, and I and all mankind, beneath our garbs of common-placeness, conceal enigmas that the stars themselves, and perhaps the highest seraphim can not resolve?
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. VII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).

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  • It is those deep far-away things in him; those occasional flashings-forth of the intuitive Truth in him; those short, quick probings at the very axis of reality;Mthese are the things that make Shakespeare, Shakespeare.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Hawthorne and His Mosses" (1850), The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces 1839-1860, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 9, eds. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1987).

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  • All the world over, the picturesque yields to the pocketesque.
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "I and My Chimney" (1856), The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces 1839-1860, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 9, eds. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1987).

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