Billy Budd, Sailor (Paperback)
Hayford and Sealts's text was the first accurate version of Melville's final novel. Based on a close analysis of the manuscript, thoroughly annotated, and packaged with a history of the text and perspectives for its criticism, this edition will remain the definitive version of a profoundly suggestive story.
"The texts are impeccably accurate. . . . The collection is accompanied by an unobtrusive but expert annotation. . . . Probably Melville's finest short work, the incomplete 'Billy Budd,' [is] a striking reworking of the crucifixion set in the English maritime service of the Revolutionary period."—John Sutherland, The Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. The bulk of his writings was published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851), he is also legendary for having been forgotten during the last thirty years of his life. Melville's writing is characteristic for its allusivity. "In Melville's manipulation of his reading," scholar Stanley T. Williams wrote, "was a transforming power comparable to Shakespeare's." Born in New York City, he was the third child of a merchant in French dry-goods, with Revolutionary War heroes for grandfathers. Not long after the death of his father in 1832, his schooling stopped abruptly. After having been a schoolteacher for a short time, he signed up for a merchant voyage to Liverpool in 1839. A year and a half into his first whaling voyage, in 1842 he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, where he lived among the natives for a month. His first book, Typee (1846) became a huge bestseller which called for a sequel, Omoo (1847). The same year Melville married Elizabeth Knapp Shaw; their four children were all born between 1849 and 1855.
Harrison Hayford is co-editor of the multi-volume The Writings of Herman Melville (Northwestern-Newberry), and editor of the Library of America Melville, in addition to many other works.
Merton M. Sealts, Jr. was Professor of English at .Lawrence University from 1948-1965 and at the .University of Wisconsin from 1965 until his death.