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Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories

Ratings:
461 pages11 hours

Summary

“Billy Budd” is the final work of American author Herman Melville which was discovered amongst his papers three decades after his death and first published in Raymond Weaver’s 1924 edition of “The Collected Works of Melville.” The emergence of that collection as well as Weaver’s 1921 biography, “Herman Melville: Man, Mariner and Mystic”, sparked a revival of interest in the forgotten writer. Despite the complex and incomplete nature of the manuscript excitement arose around this “new” Melville work when it was first discovered. The novel is concerned with its titular character, Billy Budd, a navy sailor accused of mutiny by a fellow officer, who immediately strikes his accuser dead, followed quickly by a trial, conviction and execution. The story stemmed from Melville’s interest in an 1888 article called “The Mutiny on the Somers,” concerning three sailors who in 1842 had been convicted of mutiny. Presented here in this volume is Weaver’s original 1924 edition, a first of many attempts to piece together and refine the sometimes illegible text, which included questionable additions and omissions made by Melville’s wife after his death. Also included in this collection are the following tales: “The Piazza”, “Bartleby: The Scrivener”, “Benito Cereno”, “The Lightning-Rod Man”, “The Encantadas”, “The Bell-Tower”, and “The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids”. This edition includes a biographical afterword.

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