I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of feeling. Now, sympathising with the paper, my angel turns over another leaf. You did not care a penny for the book.
But, now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book — and that you praised. Was it not so?
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You were archangel enough to praise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul. And now, after making a hermit of myself in some things, in order to avoid the possibility of the scourge, here it was hanging over me for a thing utterly unforeseen, for a crime of which I was as utterly innocent. But all that was as naught.
We mean the tragedies of human thought in its own unbiassed, native, and profounder workings. We think that into no recorded mind has the intense feeling of the usable truth ever entered more deeply than into this man's. By usable truth, we mean the apprehension of the absolute condition of present things as they strike the eye of the man who fears them not, though they do their worst to him, — the man who, like Russia or the British Empire, declares himself a sovereign nature in himself amid the powers of heaven, hell, and earth.
He may perish; but so long as he exists he insists upon treating with all Powers upon an equal basis. If any of those other Powers choose to withhold certain secrets, let them; that does not impair my sovereignty in myself; that does not make me tributary. And perhaps, after all, there is no secret. We incline to think that the Problem of the Universe is like the Freemason's mighty secret, so terrible to all children. It turns out, at last, to consist in a triangle, a mallet, and an apron, — nothing more!
Billy Budd, foretopman
We incline to think that God cannot explain His own secrets, and that He would like a little information upon certain points Himself. We mortals astonish Him as much as He us. But it is this Being of the matter; there lies the knot with which we choke ourselves. As soon as you say Me, a God, a Nature, so soon you jump off from your stool and hang from the beam.
Yes, that word is the hangman. Take God out of the dictionary, and you would have Him in the street.
Even Bartleby Would Prefer to Read This
There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says NO! For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,—why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag, — that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn them!
What's the reason, Mr.
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Hawthorne, that in the last stages of metaphysics a fellow always falls to swearing so? I could rip an hour. Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, including bits of a review of his work that he had written c. VIII : Lenox, p. There's a grave! The Conflict of Convictions, st. Error rating book.
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Refresh and try again. Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville. Darwin8u 's review Dec 02, Both are full of a confident stillness that hint at a genius between the words and a soul and art floating just under the text. Is Billy Budd a greater work than Moby-Dick? Of course not, because perfection.
But it shows that that damn book about an enigmatic, amelanist whale was not a fluke. Billy Budd's simplicity and shortness is deceptive -- the water here isn't wide, but it is deep with strong currents. At the end of reading this I was left with a dreamy visual of a giant wave which looks destined to break in a tremendous fashion against the ship I am sitting in. At the very last moment, however, the swell rolls under my lonely craft. While the ship survives, there is that one full-stop second; that heavy moment as the wave passes UNDER the portside where your bodymindandsoul recognizes the strength of the ocean and the power of that one beautiful wave that barely missed destroying you.
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December 3, — Shelved as: August 16, — Shelved Other Paperback Edition. August 16, — Shelved as: art-of-the-novella Other Paperback Edition. Jan 24, AM. The ocean swell is a perfect metaphor for that experience. It seems impossible to use that term for a page masterpiece.
Related Billy Budd: “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.”
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