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24 Quotes from the author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Born in new York city on August 1, 1819, American author and poet Herman Melvin was posthumously regarded as one of the great American writers. Melville is celebrated for his early novels Typee (1846), Omoo (1847) and his masterpiece Moby-Dick (1851) - based on his personal experience as a sailor on several merchant ships in his early 20s.  Today, we collected 24 quotes that characterize Herman Melville's work:

 

On originality:

On originality:
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"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

 

On embracing the unknown:

On embracing the unknown:
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"I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing."

"Whatever fortune brings, don't be afraid of doing things."

 

On life:

On life:
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"To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living."

 

"There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own."

 

On trying his best:

"I try all things, I achieve what I can."

 

On true strength:

On true strength:
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"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."

 

On success:

"He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great."

 

On exploring:

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"It is not down in any map; true places never are."

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

 

On writing:

"It is impossible to talk or to write without apparently throwing oneself helplessly open."

"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it."

 

On humanity:

On humanity:
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"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."

 

On hypocrisy:

"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."

 

On ignorance:

"Ignorance is the parent of fear."

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

 

On religions:

"Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian."

 

On ambiguity:

"Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity."

 

On madness:

"Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form."

"A smile is the chosen vehicle of all ambiguities."

 

On the truth:

On the truth:
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"Truth is in things, and not in words."

"Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges."

 

On perspective:

"I am, as I am; whether hideous, or handsome, depends upon who is made judge."

 

On hope:

"Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity."

 

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