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."
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).