The Simple World

Pierre is one of Herman Melville’s least-known novels and, in my opinion, the best; it’s more like an early Henry James novel, ambiguous and elliptical, than it is like Moby-Dick or Billy Budd.

In the operative opinion of this world, he who is already fully provided with what is necessary for him, that man shall have more; while he who is deplorably destitute of the same, he shall have taken away from him even that which he hath. Yet the world vows it is a very plain, downright matter-of-fact, plodding, humane sort of world. It is governed only by the simplest principles, and scorns all ambiguities, all transcendentals, and all manner of juggling.

–Herman Melville, Pierre: Or, the Ambiguities