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Bartleby / Benito Cereno / Billy Budd by…

Bartleby / Benito Cereno / Billy Budd

by Herman Melville

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After reading this book - I officially will not be reading Herman Melville. The style is too flowery and I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, and the roll they played in the story.

However, there are three stories in this book. Benito Cereno and Billy Budd are set on ships, and its clear that Melville knows his ships. There was too much sailing ship jargon for me to fully understand what was happening.

However, Bartleby the Scrivener was quite amazing - from Bartleby's "I'd rather not" to the description of the two clerks. In the introduction, there was a comparison to Kafka - an in this story, the comparison holds true. There is a feeling of being trapped in the process, and Bartleby is tragic figure with comedic inflections.

Benito Cereno was a challenge for me - It was evident what happened to the other ship right off, but Benito was blind to it based on his assumptions. I'm not sure if this story is against slavery or not, but I was rooting for the slaves and thought they were in the right the whole time.

Billy Bud is the story I really struggled with. Initially, describing characters that didn't seem to matter to the actual story, lots of characters that were minor, and the jargon left me loss. Billy Budd is a tragic figure - an innocent who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time - and there seems to be a Claggert in every group of people. But, between the difficult language, and the story that did not end, I found the story quite tedious. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Dec 30, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393976416, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:48 -0400)

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