Billy Budd, Sailor: And Other Stories   -     By: Herman Melville
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Billy Budd, Sailor: And Other Stories

Penguin Classics / 1986 / Paperback

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Product Description

The works collected here were all written after Moby-Dick and Pierre. Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of those two books, Melville became obsessed with the difficulties in communicating his vision to readers. This sense of isolation, of a need to find a way to express oneself, lies at the heart of these later works. "Billy Budd, Sailor," a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself a wrongful accusation. Billy's silence, his literal inability to express the truth, will lead to his death. The other selections here - "Bartleby," "The Encantadas," "Benito Cereno," and "The Piazza" - also deal, in varying guises, with the ways in which fictions are created and shared with a wider society.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1986
Dimensions: 7.74 X 5.09 X 0.87 (inches)
ISBN: 0140390537
ISBN-13: 9780140390537
UPC: 051488007951
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Publisher's Description

Brilliant short stories and a novella by the author of Moby-Dick

"Billy Budd, Sailor," a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself from wrongful accusations. Other selections include "Bartleby," "The Piazza," "The Encantadas," "The Bell-Tower," "Benito Cereno," "The Paradise of Bachelors," and "The Tartarus of Maids."

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author Bio

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.


Frederick Busch (1941–2006) was the recipient of many honors, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction Award, a National Jewish Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award. The prolific author of sixteen novels and six collections of short stories, Busch is renowned for his writing’s emotional nuance and minimal, plainspoken style. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he lived most of his life in upstate New York, where he worked for forty years as a professor at Colgate University. 

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