Herman Melville's final short novel, Billy Budd, which was published posthumously in 1924, has evoked considerable critical attention. The much-revised manuscript, which Melville left at his death made transcription difficult, so the earliest editions of the novel differ markedly from the standard transcription established in 1962. Interpretations of individual characters and the overall meaning of the novel differ even more significantly. This book is composed of essays, which address the text, plot, and controversial characters; essays which reveal the history of competing interpretations of the novel; and contemporary essays focussed on central themes and issues.
"An anthology of essays by scholars representing various perspectives and interpretation of the novel. The book(s) provides criticism and discussions of meaning, structure, and the historical content...as well as biographical information. It is organized in such a way that will give students a plethora of information in a largely accessible format. Each chapter heading is annotated, giving readers a chance to sample the content of the essays. Furthermore, each selection is introduced with background biographical data on the essay's author alongwith a summary of the content and the particular point of view represented. A reader-friendly and comprehensive resouce for students and teachers of world literature."
-- School Library Journal ( November 2001)
Price: US $28.10