Reading Billy Budd

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Northwestern University Press, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 190 pages
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In this study of Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor, renowned Melville scholar Hershel Parker provides the fullest introduction to and analysis of this work to date. It is the first complete reading of Billy Budd to draw on the definitive but neglected Hayford-Sealts Genetic Text. For the first time, it places Billy Budd in the context of Melville's writings and projects of the last decade of his life; and it is the first to present the work as a product of the post-Gilded Age and fin-de-siecle period rather than of the mid-century high romanticism of Moby-Dick.
  

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Contents

Melville and the Historical Background of Billy
13
Billy Budd in Melvilles Working Life
29
Preservation and Transcription
41
The Dynamics of the Canonization of Billy Budd
53
CloseReading a Flawed Text
73
Textual Curiosity in the New Critical 1950s
79
The HayfordSealts Edition 1962
85
A ChapterbyChapter Reading of Billy Budd
97
Textual Problems and Interpretation
163
A Melville Chronology
179
Bibliographical Note
189
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Hershel Parker is H. Fletcher Brown Professor of American Romanticism at the University of Delaware and Associate General Editor of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of The Writings of Herman Melville. He is editor of several collections on Melville, including collaborations with Harrison Hayford on the Norton Critical Edition of Moby-Dick and Norton "Moby-Dick" as Dubloon and with Brian Higgins on the G. K. Hall Critical Essays on Hermann Melville's "Pierre" and Critical Essays on Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick," and is also editor of the 1820-65 section in the Norton Anthology of American Literature. His Flawed Texts and Verbal Icons: Literary Authority in American Fiction was published in 1984 by Northwestern University Press.

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