Billy Budd: Billy Budd, Sailor

Billy Budd: Billy Budd, Sailor

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"Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges." So wrote Melville of "Billy Budd, Sailor", among the greatest of his works and, in its richness and ambiguity, among the most problematic. As the critic E.L. Grant Watson writes, "In this short history of the impressment and hanging of a handsome sailor-boy are to be discovered problems as profound as those which puzzle us in the pages of the Gospels." Outwardly a narrative of events aboard a British man-of-war during the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, "Billy Budd, Sailor" is a nautical recasting of the Fall, a parable of good and evil, a meditation on justice and political governance, and a searching portrait of three extraordinary men. It addresses some of the fundamental questions of experience that every age must re-examine for itself. The selection in this volume represents the best of Melville's shorter fiction, and uses the most authoritative texts. The eight shorter tales included here were composed during Melville's years as a magazine writer in the mid 1850's and establish him, along with Hawthorne and Poe, as one of the greatest American story writers of his age. Tales included are: "Bartleby the Scrivener"; "Benito Cereno"; "The Encantadas"; "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids".show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 458 pages
  • 104.14 x 172.72 x 25.4mm | 181.44g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0192833030
  • 9780192833037

Table of contents

"Bartleby, the Scrivener"; "Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!"; "The Fiddler"; "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids"; "The Lightning-Rod Man"; "The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles"; "Benito Cereno"; "I and My Chimney"; "Billy Budd, Sailor" (an inside narrative).show more

About Herman Melville

Robert Milder is Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is editor of Critical Essays on Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor' and the author of Reimagining more

Rating details

4,396 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 21% (935)
4 31% (1,366)
3 30% (1,321)
2 12% (515)
1 6% (259)
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