Melville's Short Novels: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

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Overview

Collected in this volume are Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd—presented in the best texts available, those published during Melville's lifetime and corrected by the author.
Each text has been carefully edited and annotated for student readers.
As his writing reflects, Melville was extraordinarily well read. "Contexts" collects important sources for each novel, including writings by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amasa Delano, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
"Criticism" includes twenty-eight essays about the novels sure to promote classroom discussion. Contributors include Leo Marx, Elizabeth Hardwick, Frederick Busch, Robert Lowell, Herschel Parker, Carolyn L. Karcher, Thomas Mann, and Hannah Arendt.
A Selected Bibliography is included.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393976410
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 226,782
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan McCall is Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the author of the novels Jack the Bear (which was made into a movie starring Danny DeVito) and Triphammer. His monographs include The Silence of Bartleby and Citizens of Somewhere Else.

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

Preface
Acknowledgments
The Texts of Melville's Short Novels
Bartleby, The Scrivener 3
Benito Cereno 34
Billy Budd, Sailor 103
Contexts
Bartleby, the Scrivener 173
"Bartleby" and "The Lawyer's Story" 173
Bartleby: The Ascetic's Advent 176
The Transcendentalist 185
Benito Cereno 199
A Narrative of Voyages and Travels, Chapter XVIII 199
[On Cannibals] 229
Billy Budd 231
[Hawthorne and Melville in Liverpool] 231
From Justice Accused 232
Criticism
Bartleby, The Scrivener 239
Melville's Parable of the Walls 239
From Bartleby in Manhattan 257
The Reliable Narrator 266
Benito Cereno 287
On Benito Cereno: Opposing Views 287
Epigraph to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man 288
[Captain Delano] 288
[Melville] 290
[The Yankee Captain] 294
Whose Foot on Whose Throat? A Re-Examination of Melville's Benito Cereno 296
The Topicality of Depravity in "Benito Cereno" 303
Benito Cereno 316
[Mutiny and Slave Revolt] 317
"Benito Cereno": Babo as Leader 329
Billy Budd 341
From The Plot of Billy Budd and the Politics of Interpreting It 341
[On the Movie Billy Budd] 342
Once Again, "Billy Budd" Is Standing Trial 343
[Melville and Revolution] 344
From Billy Budd and Melville's Philosophy of War 356
[Homosexuality in Billy Budd] 359
[Is Vere a Hero?] 361
[Father and Son in Billy Budd] 365
[On Billy Budd] 369
[Melville's Lyricism] 370
An Inside Narrative 371
The Bible in Billy Budd 375
[Compassion and Goodness] 396
Billy Budd 398
[Departure] 401
Selected Bibliography 407
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