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by Harold Beaver,Herman Melville

  • ISBN: 0140430296
  • Category: Fiction
  • Author: Harold Beaver,Herman Melville
  • Subcategory: Short Stories & Anthologies
  • Other formats: lrf lit mobi mbr
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 30, 1968)
  • Pages: 464 pages
  • FB2 size: 1363 kb
  • EPUB size: 1340 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 415
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Short Stories & Anthologies. I remember having to read Billy Budd as a high school student many decades ago and not really enjoying the experience.

Accused of mutinous behaviour, Billy Budd is forced to defend himself, but his fearful .

Items related to Billy Budd: and Other Stories (English Library). American novelist, essayist and poet Herman Melville is eminent for his timeless works. He wrote short stories, journals and sketches based on his travels.

In "Billy Budd, Foretopman," Melville returns to the sea life and describes .

Reviews about Billy Budd: and Other Stories (English Library) (7):
Melville and I have a complicated relationship. He was undoubted brilliant and a great writer. His work is much deeper, and more complex and nuanced than it often appears on the surface of a first reading. The enjoyment of reading Melville is for me personally in the subsequent analysis of it. The reading of it, however, (for me) feels like slow and deliberate torture. I often beg and plead for him to get the point. Sometimes it seems he goes on and on saying the same thing, or mundane details that seem irritatingly dry and irrelevant -- of course on further examination it is purposeful, but that is not always initially apparent until I go back and ask what the point was. I would therefore characterize Melville as a challenging read, rather than an enjoyable read; but a valuable read --well worth the time and effort, if the reader is so inclined to read beneath the surface.

This is a nice collection, and I look forward to returning to it to read some of the selections which I did not this time. (Melville in small doses for me).
Read ONLY when you are not interrupted and it's quiet. I love Melville but his ancient prose will stretch your vocabulary. Luckily I grew up in Maryland and spent enough time in the coastal backwaters where there are a few folks who (in the 70's at OK east) still talked like Melville wrote so I have an ear for it. A Texas born English teacher friend gave up!
Melville the poet is horribly overlooked and undervalued, and the poems here in Wildings and Weeds shows a side of him that would have to be unexpected for anyone who only knows him through Moby Dick, Typee and Billy Budd. What is unmistakably Melville in these verses is his astonishing ability to extend a metaphor, to start with an image even as familiar as the rose and take it completely unexpected places. These writings are wise and beautiful.
Billy Budd is a tough read, but well worth it. The ethical and moral issues it presents are thought provoking and challenging. The characters are symbols rather than flesh and blood but their dilemmas are real. I led a discussion of it in a large, sophisticated group and the group members were avidly trying to make their contributions before time ran out. I really commend it to book clubs. Although the reading is challenging because of the author's style, the book is short.
The ancient question of human nature pertains to the paradoxical mysteries of human personality shaped by our perception of the world as reflected in ancient mythologies. Herman Melville saw this intricate irony in this representation of reality in connection with the development of complex human personality in the characters of Billy Budd, John Claggart, and Captain Vere in this nautical novella.

(1) Psychoanalytic perspective: The components of human personality are displayed in the characters as follows: id represented by Billy (intuitive mind), ego (conscious mind) by Claggart, and superego by captain Vere, (ethical mind). Billy’s ingenuousness, unalloyed beauty both in physical appearance and inner qualities, and youthful age symbolize the earliest phase of development of human personality. Hence the name “Budd” seems to betoken this emerging state of metamorphosis into early adulthood. When Dansker warns him of Claggart’s malicious intention to do harm on him, Billy dismisses the advice and insists Claggart’s friendly treatment of him. In Billy’s representation of reality, Claggart exists as what he sees: a nice officer who does not give him hard time. In fact, it is this innocent child-man like quality that becomes Billy’s fatal flaw.

Billy Budd is doomed doomed to be ruthlessly crushed when he is transferred as a foretopman to naval ship HMS Indomitable. Here he meets his Valkyrie John Claggart, Master-at-Arms equivalent of Chief Police Office or discipline officer, who is always down upon Billy, for the reason indicated none other than his being divinely beautiful and angelically good. It is the old veteran sailor named Dansker who regards Billy as his little child and informs him of Claggart’s devious motive. All these characters are at the helm of Captain Vere (whose name is derived from the Latin word verite, meaning truth. Here the vessel is a model of representation of reality surrounded by seas, which is the world it anchors in.

Claggart’s reason for his hatred of Billy is clandestine. He appears to act according to his ego, the conscious mind which Socrates considers as spirit. It appears that Claggart’s loathing of Billy becomes inflamed when Billy accidentally spills pea soup on his feet because he considers it to be Billy’s intentional effrontery. Claggart seems to act by his emotions based on the purely abstract reasoning of the mind. Therefore, Claggart’s model of reality is a result of his own way of interpreting the situation with his faulty assessment of the character that defiles his mind with dangerous antipathy toward the youth.

Captain Vere, a figure of authority that convenes both Billy and Claggart on the subject of alleged mutiny as instigated by Billy, represents the ethical mind, the superego, the reason. He acts as an executor of justice to gird up the loins of discipline among his crew in the midst of the revolutionary wars on the sea. Vere feels that Billy is innocent; however, when Billy hits Claggart to death at his false accusation of him as a mutiny leader, Vere is convinced of Billy’s alleged guilt and orders his execution by hanging. In a way, Vere represents an amoral authority figure dealing with individual citizens or subjects according to law and order minus spirits and appetites.

(2) Mythological perspective: It is also interesting to look at this story of Billy Budd as a folklore tinged with mythological undertone of heroism akin to Norse mythology. The figure of Billy Budd reminds the reader of an ideal hero dying young; the hero can prove his nobility of character by dying because oftentimes heroism depends on lost causes. The young welkin-eyed Billy Budd’s death gives rise to the elevated concept of this Nordic hero because the true power of good is shown by continuing to resist evil while facing certain death as the legacy of Billy Budd is immortalized in the seaman’s ballad. In my opinion, this story of the welkin-eyed young hero reflects Melville’s model of heroic individual whom he himself once envisioned in his sailing days. Or perhaps, Billy Bud could be what Melville wished his two sons lost in unfortunate occasions (Malcom, the eldest, who died of self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1867 and another Stanwix, who died in 1886 in San Francisco) to be like. It would have been Melville’s mournful tribute to the deaths of his sons as enshrined in the mythological figure of Billy Budd.

The book is written in a complex prose style with literary vocabulary used in the 19th century and historical allusions to the revolutionary wars and the famous admiral Nelson’s naval wars to give to the story more realistic setting. Melville, who was a seaman himself in his youth and later settled as a customs inspector in the New York City, wrote this novella in 1891, the time of his death. It was actually his postmortem work, published in 1924, 33 years after this death. And it was this work that kindled popular interest in Melville’s works.

In view of the above, the reader will find this book both tragic and pathetic for the death of the young hero. Reading it will give a sense of reading a Greek mythological tale or a Norse tale because the protagonist of the story is evocative of pathos flowing from the complex human nature that is sublimated into heroic triumph over the face of harsh reality of the world.
There are no page numbers, there are no "other stories," and the "illustrations" have absolutely nothing to do with the book itself.
. His writing style makes tedious reading for anyone who is not a fan. Read an excerpt before going all in. Typee was the first novel of his I read, partly because I happened to be anchored in the bay that inspired him to write the tale.
I got this collection because it contains one of my favorite stories, "Bartleby, the Scrivener". It might be the first story about the modern day worker :) What do you do when confronted with someone who suddenly refuses to conform to societal expectations? What if this person will not lift a finger to help himself? Whose responsibility does he become?
Maybe we each have a breaking point, some boundary beyond which the spirit would rebel and scream "I have received enough neglect and I won't take it anymore!" If I ever reached that breaking point, would my cries also go unanswered?

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