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  • Published: 1 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143107606
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $18.99

Billy Budd, Bartleby, And Other Stories



Though best-known for his epic masterpiece Moby-Dick,Herman Melville also left a body of short stories arguably unmatched in American fiction. In the sorrowful tragedy of Billy Budd,Sailor; the controlled rage of Benito Cereno; and the tantalizing enigma of Bartleby, the Scrivener; Melville reveals himself as a singular storyteller of tremendous range and compelling power. 

Though best-known for his epic masterpiece Moby-Dick, Herman Melville also left a body of short stories arguably unmatched in American fiction. In the sorrowful tragedy of Billy Budd,Sailor; the controlled rage of Benito Cereno; and the tantalizing enigma of Bartleby, the Scrivener; Melville reveals himself as a singular storyteller of tremendous range and compelling power. In these stories, Melville cuts to the heart of race, class, capitalism, and globalism in America, deftly navigating political and social issues that resonate as clearly in our time as they did in Melville's. Also including The Piazza Tales in full, this collection demonstrates why Melville stands not only among the greatest writers of the nineteenth century, but also as one of our greatest contemporaries.This Penguin Classics edition features the Reading Text of Billy Budd, Sailor, as edited from a genetic study of the manuscript by Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr., and the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry text of The Piazza Tales.

  • Published: 1 May 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143107606
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $18.99

About the author

Herman Melville

Herman Melville was born on 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.

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