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Benito Cereno by Herman Melville
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Benito Cereno

by Herman Melville

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English (13)  Hebrew (1)  All (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
If someone else knows where to begin in reviewing this novella, do let me know.
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Entertaining story, well written. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Wowza. I don't even know what to say about Benito Cereno. This is my first Melville, believe it or not. I've never read his other works, and this is quite the introduction.

Melville House says, "Based on a real-life incident--the character names remain unchanged--Benito Cereno tells what happens when an American merchant ship comes upon a mysterious Spanish ship where the nearly all-black crew and their white captain are starving and yet hostile to offers of help. Melville's most focused political work, it is rife with allusions (a ship named after Santa Domingo, site of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture), analogies (does the good-hearted yet obtuse American captain refer to the American character itself?) and mirroring images that deepen our reflections on human oppression and its resultant depravities."

I'm assuming since Melville was born in New York and his grandparents hail from Boston, that he was anti-slavery. Since this was first published in 1855, my initial thoughts are that he writes this as a warning of sorts. Human oppression can only stand so much before it rises in revenge. If I understand the allusions and analogies correctly, this story is a scathing review of the naivete of the American north regarding slavery and of the emotional dependence the south has on it's slaves.

This book stirs the racially-charged pot. ( )
  heidip | Aug 15, 2014 |
"Benito Cereno" were never meant to be read only once. However, it took me some multiple reads into this short novel to make sense of the plot as the book need to be absorbed more than its meant to be read. Based on a true story, "Benito Cereno" was narrated by a very gullible unreliable narrator about a mysterious Spanish slave trade ship and its strange occupants. Like most thing in history about that time, the story basically centered about imperialism, slavery, white man burden, prejudices etc but its also a mystery and riddled with clues if you know where to look which made the story tolerable enough.

I guess the story would interest those who are interested in reading a very difficult writing style with complete unreliable primary POV narrator and have an interest in dominance-submissive relationship of this book. In fact, this book is riddled with all kind of power play which was simply too horrifying to dwell on it too much. Various interpretation of "rape" was the core of this novel.

I would have like it better if there are more clarity in the writing style of this book like Melville did with "Bartleby". I do think there's a way to write a rising action scene without the overuse of never-ending sentences. Besides the over comma paragraphs, I was supposed to have let Melville drag me along with his interpretation of the situation because of his familiarity with his nautical experiences. But I don't think the author nor the narrator offer us some degree of flawed humanity in the situation via the apparent ignorance prevailing until the climax of the story.

This book are meant to be read and reread. Its unavoidable to empathize with this novel to a degree considering that it shows the ugliness and flawed nature in everyone in the book. Its not meant to be likable but it is meant to be digested and its a strong novel like John Steinbeck's The Pearl but you really need a hard stomach to withstand the underlying message and various interpretations of this book. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
"Benito Cereno" were never meant to be read only once. However, it took me some multiple reads into this short novel to make sense of the plot as the book need to be absorbed more than its meant to be read. Based on a true story, "Benito Cereno" was narrated by a very gullible unreliable narrator about a mysterious Spanish slave trade ship and its strange occupants. Like most thing in history about that time, the story basically centered about imperialism, slavery, white man burden, prejudices etc but its also a mystery and riddled with clues if you know where to look which made the story tolerable enough.

I guess the story would interest those who are interested in reading a very difficult writing style with complete unreliable primary POV narrator and have an interest in dominance-submissive relationship of this book. In fact, this book is riddled with all kind of power play which was simply too horrifying to dwell on it too much. Various interpretation of "rape" was the core of this novel.

I would have like it better if there are more clarity in the writing style of this book like Melville did with "Bartleby". I do think there's a way to write a rising action scene without the overuse of never-ending sentences. Besides the over comma paragraphs, I was supposed to have let Melville drag me along with his interpretation of the situation because of his familiarity with his nautical experiences. But I don't think the author nor the narrator offer us some degree of flawed humanity in the situation via the apparent ignorance prevailing until the climax of the story.

This book are meant to be read and reread. Its unavoidable to empathize with this novel to a degree considering that it shows the ugliness and flawed nature in everyone in the book. Its not meant to be likable but it is meant to be digested and its a strong novel like John Steinbeck's The Pearl but you really need a hard stomach to withstand the underlying message and various interpretations of this book. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herman Melvilleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palm, Johan M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Correva l'anno 1799 e il capitano Delano, di Duxbury nel Massachusetts, comandante di un grosso legno da foche e da carico che trasportava merci di valore, gettò l'ancora nel porto di Santa Maria
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031245242X, Paperback)

Bedford College Editions reprint enduring literary works in a handsome, readable, and affordable format. The text of each work is lightly but helpfully annotated. Prepared by eminent scholars and teachers, the editorial matter in each volume includes a chronology of the life of the author; an illustrated introduction to the contexts and major issues of the text in its time and ours; an annotated bibliography for further reading (contexts, criticism, and Internet resources); and a concise glossary of literary terms.

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

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In 1799, the American captain Amasa Delano anchored in the bay of a Chilean coastal desert island. The next morning at the site appeared a mysterious ship, the Santo Domingo. The maneuvers of the American sopechar it did it was a ship in distress, which ordered her to a boat and went to the mysterious ship to assist.… (more)

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