Billy Budd, Sailor [NOOK Book]


A handsome young sailor is unjustly accused of plotting mutiny in this timeless tale of the sea. ...
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Billy Budd, Sailor

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A handsome young sailor is unjustly accused of plotting mutiny in this timeless tale of the sea. “Billy Budd, Sailor,” a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man.

Quotes from the book:

“Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.”

“Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins?”

“Yet a child’s utter innocence is but its blank ignorance, and the innocence more or less wanes as intelligence waxes.”

Readers' reviews:

“Fantastic book. Melville is such a sophisticated writer/observer of the human condition. Nothing seems to escape his eye.” (James,

“Melville's late masterpiece, Billy Budd, recounts the tragic tale of the eponymous sailor. That is, it recounts what little tale there is to tell.” (David Stephens,

“What a great read! It didn't seem like it at first, but the more you ruminate over this tale the more it seems justly deserving of the title of Melville's “finest work.”” (Robert Browning,
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940149715787
  • Publisher: GoodBook
  • Publication date: 7/24/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

In addition to writing many sea novels, Herman Melville is the best known author of the highly acclaimed American novel, Moby Dick (1851). It is quite unfortunate how the masterpiece was given due recognition 30 years after the death of its author. However, during his lifetime, Herman Melville became popular for writing a fictional travel narrative, Type (1846).

Herman Melville was born in New York on August 1, 1819 to a rich mercantile family which declined due to great losses in business. Herman was the third child of his parents who had 8. His father, Allan Melville was an importer of French dry goods who died after going bankrupt when Melville was 12 years old. Herman’s mother Maria Gansevoort Melville then raised her children with a little occasional help from some rich relatives. A short episode of scarlet fever affected Melville’s eyesight permanently in 1826. In 1835 he went to school at Albany Classical School (NY). After leaving school at the age of 12, Herman worked at several jobs as a clerk, teacher and farmhand. He also studied Shakespeare and other technical, historical and anthropological works despite his bad eyesight.

Melville was thirsty for adventure and in 1839 he set out to sea. In 1841, Herman sailed on a whaler bound. His adventures continued and in 1842 he was on a ship in the Marquesas Islands. His Polynesian adventures produced his early successful novels, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847). However, his upcoming novel, Mardi (1849) did not do well. In the same year he wrote Redburn (1849) followed by White-Jacket (1850), a book depicting the tough life of sailors, in the next year. Shortly after White-Jacket, came Moby Dick (1851), his distinguished contribution to American literature. Moby Dick, a whaling fictional narrative symbolically touched the tribulations of American democracy. Sadly, Moby Dick did not prove to be rewarding for Melville at the time of its publication and instead put him in despair at not receiving any acclamation.
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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2000

    Excellent Student Edition of Melville' s Tragedy

    Before asking students to tackle 'Moby Dick,' we assign 'Billy Budd' as part of the freshman high school curriculum. This novella is true to Melville's style: not always easy reading, but enormously rewarding. The drama unfolds with the digressions and character analysis which those who love Melville relish and those who do not find annoying. This reader is solidly in the former group. Melville's digressions are chatty and informative, yet --in so many ways-- they add to the tone and enhance reader's understanding of the context of the action of the novel. Melville makes it so easy to imagine a salty, old, sea-dog, ruminating as he smokes his pipe and tells his story. This edition has much to recommend it. There is en extended reader's supplement which contains biographical information on the author, explanations of the nautical, military and naval terms and clarification of the biblical, mythological and historical allusions which fill its few pages. A good follow-up to the novella is viewing the film with Peter Ustinov as Captain Vere and Terrence Stamp as the title character. The opera by Benjamin Britten also follows the book very closely and is available on cd and in video. This book makes a good first introduction to Melville, and this edition is excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    Only read it to put yourself to sleep

    The only reason I read this was because I was forced to by my English teacher, and for what reason, I don't know. It is tediously boring, and he continually makes a point of going off on naval history that has no real concrete relavence to the story line, which is the weakest I've ever seen. Even though it's 95 pages, it felt like 500.

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