Top 35 Greatest Herman Melville Quotes To Read Now

Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819, in New York City to a successful merchant father and an artist mother. He joined the New York Navy as a midshipman in 1839 and served for two years before quitting to pursue writing full time in 1841. He provided for his family through his writing by publishing short stories, poetry, novels, and more throughout his life.

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” is one of the greatest novels ever written. It is also one of the most challenging books to read, but it contains some compelling and meaningful themes and provides a rich story.

Since this novel was first published in 1851, it has been continuously in print, with new editions released every fifty years. The book has also been adapted into a film twice and various other media such as plays and television programs.

Here are his most famous quotes that will describe his mindset of why he was one of the greatest American writers in history.

35 Greatest Herman Melville Quotes To Read Now

“If you can get nothing better out of the world, get a good dinner out of it, at least.”

“Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it, and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.”

“Genius, all over the world, stands hand in hand, and one shock of recognition runs the whole circle round.”

“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”

“Money, you think, is the sole motive to pains and hazard, deception and devilry, in this world. How much money did the devil make by gulling Eve?”

“There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”

“In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”

“For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.”

“Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs.”

“Do not presume, well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed, to criticize the poor”

“Will you, or will you not, quit me?’ I now demanded in a sudden passion, advancing close to him. ‘I would prefer not to quit you’, he replied, gently emphasizing the not.”

“An utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.”

“A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities.”

“There is all the different in the world between paying and being paid.”

“Top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.”

“I have no objection to any person’s religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person don’t believe it also. ”

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects

“I try all things, I achieve what I can.”

“Ignorance is the parent of fear.”

“Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part.”

“It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.”

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”

“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.”

“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”

“Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.”

“A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things. ”

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

“Truth is in things, and not in words.”

“Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”

“Not one man in five cycles, who is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows…”

“Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses, – for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it – not in a set way and ostentatiously, though, but incidentally and without premeditation.”

“Let faith oust fact; let fancy oust memory; I look deep down and do believe.”

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

“The sailor is frankness, the landsman is finesse. Life is not a game with the sailor, demanding the long head”

“I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best”

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