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Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories (Bantam Classic) [Kindle Edition]

Herman Melville
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $4.95
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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."


From the Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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."

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: 320 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553212745
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (August 29, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKR66
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,555 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye To You Too, Old Rights-Of-Man March 13, 2001
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An investigation of evil and innocence December 16, 2000
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartleby the Scrivener August 20, 2000
By Faye Ku
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Melville you need sans Moby Dick September 17, 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book February 4, 2013
By Crystal
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I needed this book for class, but I really enjoyed it. Great read! Pretty short and fairly easy to understand
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville has authenticity September 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
For those who have read only Moby Dick and likely found it engrossing... it is a source of greatly increaed pleasure to read Melville's other work. Melville is a master in character study and does not disappoint in Billy Budd, Bartelby or any other work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Great story. Much to think about. Beautiful 19th centruy archaic English style shows why Meleville novels and short stories are classics.
Published 1 month ago by marty eber
3.0 out of 5 stars Billy Bud was well written, but the "other Stories" I mostly did not...
Mostly I did not like this book. The part about Billy Bud was sad and with an unjust ending. The other stories I just did not like.
Published 1 month ago by irene chaikin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good vs. Evil and Communal Response
Overlooked by many but a tight story and splendid and stinging stage of conflict between good and evil and societal ineptness at addressing this conflict.
Published 5 months ago by J Anthony Farmer
3.0 out of 5 stars haven't read yet
I got a bunch of free download books to fulfill my obsession to have all the books. I haven't even opened it so I can speak to the formatting or content.
Published 5 months ago by chris pederson
3.0 out of 5 stars sad and not what I had memory of
I had forgotten about the story and needed to be reminded why. Now I know. Spice of life and all- I love the freedom the e-readers have provided to have material with me all the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Robert J. Erskine Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
I read Bartleby and Benito Cereno. Both were very interesting from a cultural perspective especially in shedding light on prior generations views of life, work, nationality and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by C. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Good edition.
This or the modern library are the best collections of Melville's shorter works. Get the ML if you want some of his poetry.
Published 12 months ago by Les Harrison
4.0 out of 5 stars school
bought for daughter for school- for daughter. I can only say that the service and price were good. I bought it as a gift for my daughter
Published 14 months ago by Terry A. Fowler
4.0 out of 5 stars More than I expected.
I didn't know about all these small Melville works, but now I have read them all. Now I have to get Moby Dick. It is so easy to download them.
Published on February 19, 2012 by gunnovice
4.0 out of 5 stars Good anthology of Melville short stories
This volume is reasonably priced, includes all the short stories a high school student needs and is in a very compact form. Read more
Published on January 7, 2010 by John F. Lewandowski
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