Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales [NOOK Book]

Overview

'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 compelling narrative of events aboard a British man-of-war during the turmoil of the ...
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Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales

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Overview

'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 compelling 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. The passion it has aroused in its readers over the years is a measure of how deeply it addresses some of the fundamental questions of experience that every age must reexamine 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 the greatest American story writer of his age. Several of the tales - Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, The Encantadas, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids - are
acknowledged masterpieces of their genres. All show Melville a master of irony, point-of-view, and tone whose fables ripple out in nearly endless circles of meaning.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191504518
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 2/26/2009
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,189,684
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

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 Thoreau.

Biography

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      August 1, 1819
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 28, 1891
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended the Albany Academy in Albany, New York, until age 15

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Note on the Texts
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Herman Melville
Bartleby, the Scrivener 3
Cock-A-Doodle-Doo! 42
The Fiddler 67
The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids 74
The Lightning-Rod Man 97
The Encantadas, Or Enchanted Isles 107
Benito Cereno 164
I and My Chimney 248
Billy Budd, Sailor An Inside Narrative 279
App Extract from Amasa Delano's Narrative, chief source for 'Benito Cereno' 363
Explanatory Notes 375
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