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  • Published: 25 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9780141974385
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

The Confidence-Man And Billy Budd, Sailor



With an essay by Daniel G. Hoffmann.

'Life is a pic-nic en costume; one must take a part, assume a character, stand ready in a sensible way to play the fool'

In The Confidence-Man, Melville's unnerving and hallucinatory satire on the American dream, a slippery trickster and master of disguise comes to swindle his fellow passengers - who themselves may also be con-men - aboard a Mississippi steamboat.

Billy Budd, Sailor, published after Melville's death in 1891, is a gripping allegory of good and evil, as an innocent man, pressed into service on a British man-of-war, is falsely accused of mutiny. Both these late works are animated with the dark genius of the greatest of American writers.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.%%%With an essay by Daniel G. Hoffmann.'Life is a pic-nic en costume; one must take a part, assume a character, stand ready in a sensible way to play the fool'In The Confidence-Man, Melville's unnerving and hallucinatory satire on the American dream, a slippery trickster and master of disguise comes to swindle his fellow passengers - who themselves may also be con-men - aboard a Mississippi steamboat. Billy Budd, Sailor, published after Melville's death in 1891, is a gripping allegory of good and evil, as an innocent man, pressed into service on a British man-of-war, is falsely accused of mutiny. Both these late works are animated with the dark genius of the greatest of American writers.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

  • Published: 25 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9780141974385
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

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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