Herman Melville is a god. … I cherish what he did. He was a genius. Wrote Moby-Dick. Wrote Pierre. Wrote The Confidence-Man, wrote Billy Budd. … Oh, yes — look at him. … Scares the bejesus out of people and makes them hate him. Because he’s so good. Claggart has him killed in that book. Claggart has his eye on that boy. He will not tolerate such goodness, such blondeness, such blue eye. Goodness is scary. It’s like you want to knock it. You want to hit it.
Maurice Sendak from his 2004 interview with Bill Moyers.
Sendak also references Melville’s idea that artists must “take a dive” into the deep in this beautiful short film: