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  • From Hawthorne and his Mosses

The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever

"It is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation. He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness."


When Moby-Dick was first published, one reviewer wrote: The book "takes the shape of narrative or dramatic fiction, it is phantasmal—an attempted description of what is impossible in nature and without probability in art; it repels the reader instead of attracting him." Melville was crushed. He had written the book of a lifetime, had to endure some pretty bad reviews, and never had the literary success he hoped for in his lifetime. The New York Herald misspelled his name in his obituary. If anything, Moby-Dick is a book about writing for the sake of writing. Melville lost a lot after the publication of Moby-Dick. I wish he knew how much he has given so many people since then.

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