Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

Herman Melville Quotes

  • ''He is an optician, daily having to do with the microscope, telescope, and other inventions for sharpening our natural sight, thus enabling us mortals (as I once heard an eccentric put it) liberally to enlarge the field of our original and essential ignorance.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Inscription Epistolary to W.C.R..." John Marr (1888), pp. 468-469, Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (1947). Referring to "Hillary."
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  • ''The rushing Pequod, freighted with savages, laden with fire, and burning a corpse, and plunging into that blackness of darkness, seemed the material counterpart of her monomaniac commander's soul.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 96, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988). Ahab was the commander.
  • ''It is impossible to talk or to write without apparently throwing oneself helplessly open.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XVIII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''Oh Conventionalism, what a ninny, thou art, to be sure.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. journal, Nov. 23, 1849. Journals, vol. 15, The Writings of Herman Melville, eds. Howard C. Horsford and Lynn Horth (1989).
  • ''All deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 23, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''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).
  • ''In their precise tracings-out and subtle causations, the strongest and fieriest emotions of life defy all analytical insight.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. IV, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).
  • ''It is against the will of God that the East should be Christianized.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. journal, Jan. 23, 1857. Journals, vol. 15, The Writings of Herman Melville, eds. Howard C. Horsford and Lynn Horth (1989).
  • ''I have ever found your plain things the knottiest of all.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Moby-Dick (1851), ch. 85, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 6, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1988).
  • ''It is not the purpose of literature to purvey news. For news consult the Almanac de Gotha.''
    Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "At the Hostelry" (posthumous), p. 353, Poems, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 16, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924).

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Best Poem of Herman Melville

Art

In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt--a wind to freeze;
Sad patience--joyous energies;
Humility--yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity--reverence. These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel--Art.

Read the full of Art

The Berg (A Dream)

I saw a ship of material build
(Her standards set, her brave apparel on)
Directed as by madness mere
Against a solid iceberg steer,
Nor budge it, though the infactuate ship went down.
The impact made huge ice-cubes fall
Sullen in tons that crashed the deck;
But that one avalanche was all--
No other movement save the foundering wreck.

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