Billy Budd and Other Tales (Signet Classics)

Billy Budd and Other Tales (Signet Classics)

Herman Melville

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0451530810

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A master of the american short story

Included in this rich collection are: The Piazza, Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, The Lightning-Rod Man, The Encantadas, The Bell-Tower, and The Town-Ho's Story.

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Simple's Uncle Sam


Pudd'nhead Wilson

The Call of the Wild and White Fang














unspeakable intimation with his twisted hand he warned off the foolish and infatuated man; but it was to no purpose. And in this way the two went once slowly round the windlass; when, resolved at last no longer to retreat, bethinking him that he had now forborne as much as comported with his humor, the Lakeman paused on the hatches and thus spoke to the officer: “ ‘Mr. Radney, I will not obey you. Take that hammer away, or look to yourself.’ But the predestinated mate coming still closer to him,

deepen the ambiguity of the decision itself, and in that process to reveal Melville’s own struggle to come to terms with Vere’s struggle. “Towards the end,” Auden says of Melville in Billy Budd, “he sailed into an extraordinary mildness.” Yet Melville’s actual struggle to produce his story, as reflected in his manuscript revisions, seems far more strenuous than mild. To take just one example, in a late manuscript insertion he makes the ship’s surgeon question Vere’s sanity in making and

his coats, I reasoned with him, but with no effect. The truth was, I suppose, that a man with so small an income could not afford to sport such a lustrous face and a lustrous coat at one and the same time. As Nippers once observed, Turkey’s money went chiefly for red ink. One winter day, I presented Turkey with a highly respectable-looking coat of my own—a padded gray coat of a most comfortable warmth, and which buttoned straight up from the knee to the neck. I thought Turkey would appreciate the

proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying excessive and organic ill. To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain. And when at last it is perceived that such pity cannot lead to effectual succor, common sense bids the soul be rid of it. What I saw that morning persuaded me that the scrivener was the victim of innate and incurable disorder. I might give alms to his body, but his body did not pain him—it was his soul that suffered, and his soul I could not reach. I did not accomplish the

haggardness combined with a dark eye, averted as in trouble and shame, and then again recalling Don Benito’s confessed ill opinion of his crew, insensible, he was operated upon by certain general notions which, while disconnecting pain and abashment from virtue, invariably link them with vice. If, indeed, there be any wickedness on board this ship, thought Captain Delano, be sure that man there has fouled his hand in it, even as now he fouls it in the pitch. I don’t like to accost him. I will

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