Plot[ edit ] Billy Budd is a seaman impressed into service aboard HMS Bellipotent in the yearwhen the Royal Navy was reeling from two major mutinies and was threatened by the Revolutionary French Republic 's military ambitions.
He grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Gansevoort, for whom the family had high expectations. Allan Melvill did his best to keep up the appearance of prosperous respectability, moving several times to larger and more comfortable houses in better Manhattan neighborhoods, yet this surface prosperity belied his problems with his business, importing fine French dry goods.
Inhe closed his shop and moved the family to Albany, leaving unpaid bills behind. Maria was left with four sons and four daughters. He wanted more than a career in commerce, however, and quit the bank in to work in the family store while attending the Albany Classical School.
Inhe qualified to be a teacher and was in charge of a one-room school near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for one term. After his family moved to Lansingburgh, New York, inMelville studied engineering and surveying at the Lansingburgh Academy.
After failing to obtain a job on the Erie Canal, he, like many restless young men from families with financial problems, went to sea, sailing on the St. Lawrence with a cargo of cotton to Liverpool in June, Despite presenting this trip as a miserable experience in Redburn: His First VoyageMelville thrived on the freedom from family responsibilities.
The only negative aspect of the journey was his horror at the poverty of the Liverpool slums. He returned home that fall to teach at the Greenbush Academy near Lansingburgh and contributed a gothic horror sketch to the local newspaper.
He made another important trip in the summer of along the Great Lakes and the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Unable to secure a profitable or interesting position on land, Melville sailed for the Pacific on the whaler Acushnet in January, Life on this ship was unpleasant, so Melville and a shipmate ran away in the Marquesas and spent twenty-six days in the valley of the Typees, who were alleged to be cannibals.
He then signed on the Lucy Ann, an Australian whaler, in August, This time, conditions were even worse than those on the Acushnet, and Melville was put ashore in Tahiti and briefly held as a mutineer. He joined another whaler, the Charles and Henry, that November.
Discharged in Hawaii, he worked as a clerk and bookkeeper at a Honolulu general store. Throughout these travels, Melville was appalled at the way supposed civilization was being imposed upon the natives, primarily by missionaries.
Having seen enough of the exotic and of the depravities of his fellow white men, he enlisted in the navy in August,so that he could sail to Boston on the United States. His cynicism about civilized behavior was further hardened on this voyage as he saw seamen and apprentices flogged.
Realizing that he could not rely completely upon his memory and untested descriptive skills, he read numerous books about voyages to the Pacific.
Such researches into factual material to support his stories continued throughout his career. A Peep at Polynesian Life He combined his experiences and his reading with his imagination to produce a romantic adventure which was rejected by the first publisher to whom it was submitted because it could not possibly be true.Claggart wrongfully accuses Billy Budd of participating in a mutiny plot and demands that Billy answer to the charge.
Billy is unable to defend himself verbally because of a stammer. In angry frustration Billy suddenly strikes out at Claggart, stabbing him to death. Billy Budd, Sailor is the final novel by American writer Herman Melville, first published posthumously in London in as edited by Raymond M.
Weaver, a professor at Columbia University.
Other versions were later published. A RE-EXAMINATION OF BILLY BUDD CRITICISM JOSEPH SCHIFFMAN T Long Island University HE AGED Melville, like the Dansker of Billy Budd, "never a From Willard Thorp's Introduction to Herman Melville, Representative Selections (New York, ), p.
. Billy Budd by Herman Melville, The Electronic Classics Series, Jim Manis, Editor, PSU-Hazleton, Hazleton, PA is a Portable Document File produced as part of an ongoing publication project to bring classical works of literature, in English, to free and .
This edition of Melville's Billy Budd is useless and alarming inauthentic. I ordered it for school, and I chose this edition largely due to the listing's inclusion of this quote in the description: “This is the most teachable edition of Billy Budd urbanagricultureinitiative.coms: Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, certainly didn't lack for an active imagination, but many of the bawdy, swashbuckling stories that he created actually did stem from his own experiences.