Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories Kindle Edition
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- Length: 322 pages
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?
"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.
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.Read more ›
This is a nice collection, and I look forward to returning to it to read some of the selections which I did not this time. (Melville in small doses for me).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Who can forget Moby-Dick? Well, you will truly enjoy the novella Billy Budd and how he enchants the crewmen on the HMS Avenger. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sophia DeNapoli
I bought this book for the Benito Cereno novella that's included, as I had to read it for a class-- that story alone makes this collection worth it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Abigail
Assigned reading is never fun, until it actually is. Billy Budd is one of the only school reads that I found very enjoyable. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Matthew
Billy Budd, the character, is an archetype, or figure, of the handsome sailor commonly found among the motley crew of the sailing vessel. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Gaboora
I didn't get "billy budd" I was out of range for my Wi-Fi. if you resend it now i'll get itPublished on July 2, 2014 by patrick h. mack
Great story. Much to think about. Beautiful 19th centruy archaic English style shows why Meleville novels and short stories are classics.Published on March 12, 2014 by marty eber
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