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wiseoldpieman
09-05-2008, 01:40 PM
Hello all, I'm new to the site and I look forward to joining the exchanges here on a regular basis. I'm looking for the original source of this Melville quote - "One often hears of writers that rise and swell within their subject though it may seem but an ordinary one. To produce a mighty book, you must chose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea though many there be who have tried it." I haven't been able to find anything on it even using Google. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Charles Darnay
09-05-2008, 03:02 PM
Hello and welcome to the site :)

The quote you are looking for is from Moby-Dick (I'm pretty sure it was towards the end).

If you go to Herman Melville on the author list and serach the quote it should come up

Moby Dick Fan
12-18-2008, 02:52 PM
That quote is in Moby-Dick Chapter 104 (http://www.mobydickthewhale.com/moby-dick/moby-dick-chapter-104.htm), Third Paragraph:

One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius' crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms! For in the mere act of penning my thoughts of this Leviathan, they weary me, and make me faint with their outreaching comprehensiveness of sweep, as if to include the whole circle of the sciences, and all the generations of whales, and men, and mastodons, past, present, and to come, with all the revolving panoramas of empire on earth, and throughout the whole universe, not excluding its suburbs. Such, and so magnifying, is the virtue of a large and liberal theme! We expand to its bulk. 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 who have tried it.