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Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)


American novelist, essayist, and poet.
Herman Melville
We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people ó the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.
Melville quotes
Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.
Melville
In this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of the great Art of Telling the Truth, ó even though it be covertly, and by snatches.




Melville Herman quotes
Youth is the time when hearts are large,
And stirring wars
Appeal to the spirit which appeals in turn
To the blade it draws.
Melville Herman
You must have plenty of sea-room to tell the truth in.
Herman Melville quotes
Melville and I had a talk about time and eternity, things of this world and next, and books, and publishers, and all possible and impossible matters, that lasted pretty deep into the night.
Herman Melville
I have no objection to any personís religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person donít believe it also. But when a manís religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.
Melville Herman quotes
Nature has not implanted any power in man that was not meant to be exercised at times, though too often our powers have been abused. The privilege, inborn and inalienable, that every man has of dying himself, and inflicting death upon another, was not given to us without a purpose. These are the last resources of an insulted and unendurable existence.
Melville
At the penultimate moment, his words, his only ones, words wholly unobstructed in the utterance were these ó "God bless Captain Vere!"
Melville Herman
I found that but to glean after this man, is better than to be in at the harvest of others.
Herman Melville
Marvel not that having been made acquainted with the young sailor's essential innocence (an irruption of heretic thought hard to suppress) the worthy man lifted not a finger to avert the doom of such a martyr to martial discipline. So to do would not only have been as idle as invoking the desert, but would also have been an audacious transgression of the bounds of his function, one as exactly prescribed to him by military law as that of the boatswain or any other naval officer. Bluntly put, a chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace serving in the host of the God of War ó Mars. As such, he is as incongruous as a musket would be on the altar at Christmas. Why then is he there? Because he indirectly subserves the purpose attested by the cannon; because too he lends the sanction of the religion of the meek to that which practically is the abrogation of everything but brute Force.




Herman Melville quotes
Familiarity with danger makes a brave man braver, but less daring. Thus with seamen: he who goes the oftenest round Cape Horn goes the most circumspectly.
Herman Melville
Truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.
Melville quotes
Billy's agony, mainly proceeding from a generous young heart's virgin experience of the diabolical incarnate and effective in some men ó the tension of that agony was over now.
Melville Herman
Say what some poets will, Nature is not so much her own ever-sweet interpreter, as the mere supplier of that cunning alphabet, whereby selecting and combining as he pleases, each man reads his own peculiar lesson according to his own peculiar mind and mood.
Melville Herman quotes
Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance.
Herman Melville
It is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation. He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness. And if it be said, that continual success is a proof that a man wisely knows his powers, ó it is only to be added, that, in that case, he knows them to be small. Let us believe it, then, once for all, that there is no hope for us in these smooth pleasing writers that know their powers.
Herman Melville quotes
Nobody had more class than Melville. To do what he did in Moby-Dick, to tell a story and to risk putting so much material into it. If you could weigh a book, I donít know any book that would be more full. Itís more full than War and Peace or The Brothers Karamazov. It has Saint Elmoís fire, and great whales, and grand arguments between heroes, and secret passions. It risks wandering far, far out into the globe. Melville took on the whole world, saw it all in a vision, and risked everything in prose that sings. You have a sense from the very beginning that Melville had a vision in his mind of what this book was going to look like, and he trusted himself to follow it through all the way.
Herman Melville
Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet the angel must hang!
Melville Herman
"At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable," was his mildly cadaverous reply.


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