12 Herman Melville Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 12 Herman Melville quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Moby-Dick, Billy Budd, and Typee. In these quotes, Melville covers books, humanity, and more.
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Here are 12 Herman Melville quotes for writers and about writing from the author of Moby-Dick, Billy Budd, and Typee. In these quotes, Melville covers books, humanity, and more.

 Herman Melville

Herman Melville

In addition to writing the classic novel Moby-Dick as well as other books, stories, and poems, Melville was also a sailor, lecturer, and customs inspector during his life. He also built a friendship with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne while Melville was working on his masterpiece and Hawthorne was working on The House of the Seven Gables.

(Click here for 4 reasons to write books based on classic literature.)

While Melville experienced some early success and notoriety early in his writing career, he only earned a little over $10,000 for his writing, which was not a huge sum even in those times. However, his writing received a revival around the 100th anniversary of his birth. Around the end of the 20th century, his poetry started to gain momentum as well.

Here are 12 Herman Melville quotes for writers and about writing.

12 Herman Melville quotes for writers and about writing

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

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

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"Youth is the time when hearts are large."

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"Genius is full of trash."

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme."

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"I would prefer not to."

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"I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb."

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

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"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."

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"Beneath those stars is a universe of gliding monsters."

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

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"No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses."

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