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Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.

From the Inside Flap

If Melville had never written "Moby Dick, his place in world literature would be assured by his short tales. "Billy Budd, Sailor," his last work, is the masterpiece in which he delivers the final summation in his "quarrel with God." It is a brilliant study of the tragic clash between social authority and individual freedom, human justice and abstract good. Melville also explores this theme in "Bartelby the Scrivener," his famous story about a Wall Street law clerk who takes passive resistance to a comic--and ultimately disastrous--extreme; and in "Benito Cereno," his dazzling account of oppression and rebellion on a nineteenth-century slave ship. Completing this collection of great tales are the eerie "The Encantados," the beautiful, romantic "The Piazza," and Melville's chilling science fiction parable, "The Bell-Tower."

Product Details

  • File Size: 797 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Publication Date: August 29, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKR66
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,646 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Authors really have a hard time avoiding the fact their stories nearly always mirror their most closely guarded personal concerns. But the writers who care deepest about the messages they're sending are usually the hardest hit. "Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories"--a Penguin Classic pairing of both well-known and comparatively obscure short stories by America's ultimate "writer's writer"--details the immense artistry, messianic eccentricity and wounded vanity of a deeply troubled man who toiled--unsung, ridiculed--long before his time ever could have come.
This particular collection, refracted as it is by a heartfelt introduction by contemporary American author Frederick Busch, highlights both author and character in alienated reserve in the well-known "Bartleby, Scrivener"; exhibits the writer's knowing infatuation with the great satires of Swift and allegories of Milton in "The Paradise of Bachelors and Tartarus of Maids" and "The Encantadas"; his obsession with the interplay of virtue and pragmatism in "Billy Budd, Sailor"; and reveals even prophetic intonations in a story about race, "Benito Cereno." Some seem little more than amusing studies, but even the least in this collection testifies to Melville's eternal ability to astonish and take your breath clean out of your body. Indeed, Melville's shorter work reveals just how far he was from the day's critical appraisal of him as an unsuccessful writer of mere adventures that simply didn't fit the bill.
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I got this collection because it contains one of my favorite stories, "Bartleby, the Scrivener". It might be the first story about the modern day worker :) What do you do when confronted with someone who suddenly refuses to conform to societal expectations? What if this person will not lift a finger to help himself? Whose responsibility does he become?
Maybe we each have a breaking point, some boundary beyond which the spirit would rebel and scream "I have received enough neglect and I won't take it anymore!" If I ever reached that breaking point, would my cries also go unanswered?
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Format: Paperback
The nearby review by "brothersjuddotcom" is excellent, and will introduce you to many of the issues and opinions on this text. However, there is one more issue that I would like to draw attention to. Melville is concerned in "Billy Budd" with the human capacity for malevolence: doing evil for the sake of evil.
Some other 19th-century American authors like Emerson and Thoreau have fairly "sunny" views of human nature. Melville (along with Poe and Hawthorne) thought it was dangerous to ignore the other side of being human. In particular, Melville wants to address the question, Can a person do evil just for the sake of being evil?
Why does Claggart hate Billy Budd so much? Jealousy may be part of it, but that could not explain the depth of his hatred. Claggart is simply pure evil. His evil is motivated by nothing but the love of evil itself. Melville wants us to see that people like Claggart are a real possibility. And those who, like Billy Budd, are "innocent" will be helpless in the face of such evil.
If these issues interest you, you can pursue this topic through Poe's great short story, "The Black Cat," and St. Augustine's _Confessions_, especially "Book II" (really a chapter in length).
The other great story in this anthology is "Bartleby, Scrivener." It seems, on the surface, to be merely a story about mental illness. A clerk starts to simply refuse to do his work, until he cannot care for himself any more, and is committed to an insane asylum. But this is not a story only about depression. The key of the story is that Bartleby once worked in the "dead letter" department of the post office.
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Format: Paperback
This book is what I use in my Melville unit in High School. I highly recommend it to the novice to Melville's work.

"Bartleby the Scrivener" brings out the important irony of American life, that most people do not want you to tell the truth. When asked why he didn't do the work assigned, Bartleby answered truthfully and it kills him. How often does that happen in American life?

"Benito Cereno" shows the duplicity of the American Slave trade. And it shows that the ethics of the slave trade also depend on a lie.

"Billy Budd" shows that the first casualty in war time is the truth. And this dealing with liars and the truth and the immutable truth that the law without judgment is itself unjust.

Get this collection for your library.
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Format: Paperback
Herman Melville (1919-1891) is the great misunderstood and underappreciated genius of nineteenth century American literature. In Penguin's compilation of some of his best short stories we see his genius at full display of the authorial craft.
Billy Budd is the tale of an innocent naive young foretopman on a British ship during the time England fought Napoleonic France. A recent mutiny of British tars at Nore had recently been put down. Billy is picked on by the burly and crude John Claggart. In retaliation against Claggart young Billy hits the bully. Claggart dies and Billy is forced to undergo a drumhead court martial. Captain Vere is forced to execute Billy for mutiny even though he knows the lad is an innocent soul. This tale presents the reader with a moral dilemma. Should persons in authority be merciful or should they see that strict justice is accomplished.? Vere
(his name means "truth") is a complicated man. Billy Budd has been seen symbolically as a Christ figure beloved of the men aboard the ship upon which he serves. Composer Benjamin Brittain later turned this tragic tale into a successful opera. Billy is the innocent outsider who is a sacrifice to the realities of a tough world. I wonder if Melville who had lost a young son saw himself as Captain Vere and Billy as his deceased son?
Benito Cereno deals with a seizure of a slave ship by Africans on their way to America. The ship is commanded by Benito Cereno a Spaniard but when it encounters the American whaler ship under Captain Delano deception is planned by the slaves. Delano believes the ship is still led by Cereno only to learn he is a prisoner under the crafty slave Babo. Melville was against chattel slavery. The story is a complex examination into the stain of slavery and the deceptions we face in life.
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