Friday, May 23, 2014

Quotes From Moby Dick

For the past year or so, I have been working in a writing project called A Brief History of American Literature.  Thus, I have been reading a lot of classics.  Right now, I'm into Moby Dick, and am continually astonished by its beauty and intensity.  As I read, I like to mark passages that seem particularly profound, beautiful, or interesting.  Here are some Moby Dick quotes I've marked so far:

"Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!"

"I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote."

"What's all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself--the man's a human being just as I am; he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him."

"A curious sight; these bashful bears, these timid warrior whale men!"

"Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable."

"Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance."

"For among all the fissures of his wrinkles, there shone certain mild gleams of a newly developing bloom."

"Ah, noble ship," the angel seemed to say, "beat on, beat on."

"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."

"O sleeper!  arise!"

"To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood!  That was it!"

"Delight is to him--a far, far upward, and inward delight--who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self."

"You cannot hide the soul.  Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart."

"I felt a melting in me.  No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world."

"The luxurious discomforts of the rich."

"See how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when love once comes to bend them."

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

"Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort!"

"They are fighting Quakers; they are Quakers with a vengeance."

"For all men tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness.  Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease."

"He had long since come to the sage and sensible solution that a man's religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another."

"Heaven have mercy on us all--Presbyterians and Pagans alike--for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending."

"Hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling."

"We gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the lone Atlantic."

"A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard."

"Looking into his eyes, you seemed to see there the yet-lingering images of those thousand-fold perils he had calmly confronted through life.  A staid, steadfast man, whose life for the most part was a telling pantomime of action, and not a tame chapter of words."

"Stricken Ahab stood before them with a crucifixion in his face."

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