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Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville
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Billy Budd, Sailor (1924)

by Herman Melville

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Melville's novel, for being a story of the sea, is far from an action story. It is, instead a psychological character sketch of three men: Billy Budd, Captain Vere, and Claggert. While Melville makes many biblical references, I wonder at his theology and appropriateness of his allusions at times. I would like to know what his knowledge of the Bible was and from what perspective he saw the story of the garden (it seems he deems it a myth) as well as Abraham and ultimately Jesus. Clearly Billy is a Christ-figure or else Melville is clumsy.

No doubt, it is a hard read, but the moral dilemma facing Vere and the others is one that all humanity needs to wrestle with: what is justice and what is its role in the midst of a moral quagmire? A highly enjoyable and short novel that can be read in a day but mulled over for much, much longer. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Melville's novel, for being a story of the sea, is far from an action story. It is, instead a psychological character sketch of three men: Billy Budd, Captain Vere, and Claggert. While Melville makes many biblical references, I wonder at his theology and appropriateness of his allusions at times. I would like to know what his knowledge of the Bible was and from what perspective he saw the story of the garden (it seems he deems it a myth) as well as Abraham and ultimately Jesus. Clearly Billy is a Christ-figure or else Melville is clumsy.

No doubt, it is a hard read, but the moral dilemma facing Vere and the others is one that all humanity needs to wrestle with: what is justice and what is its role in the midst of a moral quagmire? A highly enjoyable and short novel that can be read in a day but mulled over for much, much longer. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
I remember really liking this one in college. I had to read closely for clues to who the mutineer really was...a few images come to mind, but I remember really liking it. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
A short but deep account of the life of Billy Budd. Well-written and charmingly expressed. ( )
  charlie68 | Aug 9, 2015 |
This is a very disappointing book. Herman Melville is considered an excellent writer and there is a sense in which the prose is well written but the plot and the symbolism is poor. The implausibility of a sailor being accidentally killing his accuser in front of the Captain of the ship because of his fainting during his accusing makes the story worthless. Furthermore, the decision to have him executed even though they knew him not guilty of murder is improbable. The symbolism of the Christ-like death of Billy is silly. I understand that Herman must have been a rather religious person and he stole his themes from the Bible. Frankly, this book is not worth reading and I regret the time I wasted reading it. ( )
  GlennBell | Aug 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herman Melvilleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Freeman, Frederic BarronEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayford, HarrisonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palm, Johan M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plomer, WilliamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sealts, Merton M., Jr.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, Raymond M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated
to

JACK CHASE
Englishman

Wherever that great heart may now be
Here on Earth or harbored in Paradise

Captain of the Maintop
in the year 1843
in the U.S. Frigate
United States
First words
In the time before steamships, or then more frequently than now, a stroller along the docks of any considerable seaport would occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed mariners, man-of-war's men or merchant sailors in holiday attire, ahore on liberty.
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The Chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace, serving in the host of the God of War - Ares.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226321320, Paperback)

Hayford and Sealts's text was the first accurate version of Melville's final novel. Based on a close analysis of the manuscript, thoroughly annotated, and packaged with a history of the text and perspectives for its criticism, this edition will remain the definitive version of a profoundly suggestive story.

"The texts are impeccably accurate. . . . The collection is accompanied by an unobtrusive but expert annotation. . . . Probably Melville's finest short work, the incomplete 'Billy Budd,' [is] a striking reworking of the crucifixion set in the English maritime service of the Revolutionary period."—John Sutherland, The Los Angeles Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:15 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Herman Melville's classic novel "Billy Budd, Sailor," with introduction, chronology of the author's life, timeline of events, critical analysis, explanatory and textual notes, and discussion questions.

» see all 15 descriptions

Legacy Library: Herman Melville

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