Billy Budd

By Herman Melville
Read by Stefan Rudnicki

3.53 Hours 07/08/2009 unabridged
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Billy Budd, an orphaned, illegitimate child suffused with innocence, openness, and natural charisma, has been impressed into service aboard the HMS Bellipotent. He is adored by the crew but for unexplained reasons arouses the antagonism of the ship’s master-at-arms, John Claggart, who falsely accuses Billy of conspiracy to mutiny. Set in 1797, Billy Budd exploits the tension of this period during the war between England and France to create a tale of satanic treachery, tragedy, and great pathos that explores human relationships and the inherently ambiguous nature of man-made justice. Melville’s stories are masterpieces to be appreciated on more than one level. They are rich with symbolism and spiritual depth and show the timeless poetic power of Melville’s writing as he consciously uses the disguise of allegory in various ways and to various ends.

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Summary

Summary

Billy Budd, an orphaned, illegitimate child suffused with innocence, openness, and natural charisma, has been impressed into service aboard the HMS Bellipotent. He is adored by the crew but for unexplained reasons arouses the antagonism of the ship’s master-at-arms, John Claggart, who falsely accuses Billy of conspiracy to mutiny. Set in 1797, Billy Budd exploits the tension of this period during the war between England and France to create a tale of satanic treachery, tragedy, and great pathos that explores human relationships and the inherently ambiguous nature of man-made justice.

Melville’s stories are masterpieces to be appreciated on more than one level. They are rich with symbolism and spiritual depth and show the timeless poetic power of Melville’s writing as he consciously uses the disguise of allegory in various ways and to various ends.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Billy Budd has excited the most admiration and commentary of any work by Melville except Moby-Dick. It has the translucence and the loose weave of last works. A lifetime sifts into it. Whenever Melville ventures onto shipboard, the reader feels the deck beneath his feet.” John Updike
“Reaches straight back into the universal, to a blackness and sadness so trancending our own that they are undistinguishable from glory.” E. M. Forster
“No library, public or private, that professes to represent English literature should be without it.” John St. Loe Strachey
“In this last of Melville’s works, published posthumously, the author dramatized the clash between natural goodness and innocence as personified by Billy Budd and unprovoked evil as embodied in Claggart.” Masterpieces of World Literature

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Herman Melville

Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City. Family hardships forced him to leave school for various occupations, including shipping as a cabin boy to Liverpool in 1839—a voyage that sparked his love for the sea. A shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction, he is considered an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumously published novella Billy Budd.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 3.53
Audience: Adult
Language: English