HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville
Loading...

Benito Cereno

by Herman Melville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2871339,220 (3.42)31

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 31 mentions

English (12)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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 |
This was a boring book. It was short but I feel that I was reading a 1,000-page book. Its a book that you have a slight notion of what will happen next and thus just want to reach the climax. But the climax happened to far down the book. This book made me so sleepy I almost did not want to finish it. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Aug 12, 2013 |
I have heard about this book from a friend of mine, who's read it with her book club, so I generally knew what to expect in terms of plot developments. I was however pleasantly surprised by the characters in this novella. They were all remarkable in one way or another and since they were all very distinct their differences stood out all the more. It seems that authors in the middle of the 19th century weren't afraid to make their characters full of personality, take Dickens for example, and Melville definitely followed the same tradition. I particularly enjoyed the character of the proprietor, who is the narrator of this story. He tries so hard to be on good terms with all of his employees, regardless of the trouble they cause him, and makes up excuses to not take any action that would make him look good in his own eyes.
What I didn't expect is how plodding the pace is. Now that I've read Benito Cereno I think that's something that is common in Melville's work. The same type of scene seemed to repeat over and over without furthering the plot or developing the characters. The only thing this repetition seemed to accomplish was to convince me further of utter and complete spinelessness of the proprietor, but I already knew that so it wore on me. I did enjoy the ending though. It seemed somewhat abrupt because events moved along faster than the rest of the story but it was very satisfying. In a way it was the only appropriate ending, anything else wouldn't have worked quite as well. It also redeemed the proprietor in my eyes somewhat, he did have a good heart even if his will was lacking. Despite the extremely slow middle of the novella the ending saved it for me and for a few days after finishing it I kept thinking about the characters and the story. I can see why Melville is considered such an important figure in American literature and why this particular piece is still widely read. I would recommend Bartleby if you want to read a work that will inspire you to think about people, their motivations and how they relate to each other. ( )
  bolgai | Jun 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herman Melvilleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palm, Johan M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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
Quotations
Last words
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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)

» see all 2 descriptions

Legacy Library: Herman Melville

Herman Melville has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Herman Melville's legacy profile.

See Herman Melville's author page.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.42)
0.5
1 3
1.5
2 6
2.5 1
3 16
3.5 10
4 21
4.5 1
5 6

Audible.com

4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,432,611 books! | Top bar: Always visible