Ce n'est qu'en abordant la page 330 que je me suis aperçu qu'il manquait 30 pages, on passe directement à la page 361! Je comptais retourner cet exemplaire défectueux, mais je m'aperçois qu'il faut le faire dans le mois qui suit la réception.... damn! trop tard! Ce délai d'un mois me semble très court et j'apprécierais le geste commercial si Amazon m'en envoyait un exemplaire COMPLET!
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22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Goodbye To You Too, Old Rights-Of-Man13 mars 2001
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Authors really have a hard time avoiding the fact their stories nearly always mirror their most closely guarded personal concerns. But the writers who care deepest about the messages they're sending are usually the hardest hit. "Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories"--a Penguin Classic pairing of both well-known and comparatively obscure short stories by America's ultimate "writer's writer"--details the immense artistry, messianic eccentricity and wounded vanity of a deeply troubled man who toiled--unsung, ridiculed--long before his time ever could have come. This particular collection, refracted as it is by a heartfelt introduction by contemporary American author Frederick Busch, highlights both author and character in alienated reserve in the well-known "Bartleby, Scrivener"; exhibits the writer's knowing infatuation with the great satires of Swift and allegories of Milton in "The Paradise of Bachelors and Tartarus of Maids" and "The Encantadas"; his obsession with the interplay of virtue and pragmatism in "Billy Budd, Sailor"; and reveals even prophetic intonations in a story about race, "Benito Cereno." Some seem little more than amusing studies, but even the least in this collection testifies to Melville's eternal ability to astonish and take your breath clean out of your body. Indeed, Melville's shorter work reveals just how far he was from the day's critical appraisal of him as an unsuccessful writer of mere adventures that simply didn't fit the bill. "I would prefer not to," Bartleby, a lawyer's scrivener who ostensibly is hired to copy--by hand--the long-winded motions, quotidian depositions and byzantine judgments that pass through a New York corporate law office, tells his employer when he's needed to fill his role as a drafthorse of a copyist. While he's otherwise a model employee--nearly perfect handwriting, implacably accurate, always on time, never blotches the page, devoid of the scurrilous habits of his two oddball coworkers--Bartleby nevertheless stands out like a mythical portrait of Thoreau, cast upon the 19th Century urban business world, a conscientious objector, civil disobedient, a taciturn young man who, for unknown reasons, has chosen to literally step out of this world without leaving the office. Regardless of his employer's kindhearted attempts to convince Bartleby to "get with the program," Bartleby's unspoken show of both defiance and questionable sanity should tell us that, even then, individual sovereignty was being held hostage at the office. This archetypically American conflict between ideals of freedom and practicalities of work--one more fully covered by the likes of Europeans such as Kafka, Sartre and Beckett, perhaps due to American considerations of "market forces"--is pallid in comparison to an epic tale of piracy and mutiny told in "Benito Cereno." An encounter in the South Seas between an American clipper and a wayward, sail-shorn Spanish slave galley--ostensibly a story of rescue--in the end turns into a timeless assessment of pan-Atlantic political and cultural affairs, and of the hypocricy of a young democracy's dependence on the slave trade. The ancient Mediterranian powers--Spain and the Catholic Church (itself a subject of widespread controversy in Melville's America...)--serving as puppets for those in the Third World who are determined to choose death before they lose their liberty in the service of commercial interests...well, imagine that! Did Melville ever feel himself a slave to the interests of literary commerce? Could he have been speculating on the ultimate fate of one of those Old World entanglements the nation midway through its first century obsessed over? Like many American transcendentalists of the day, literary executors who found the world upon a doorstep, Melville's writing often takes a turn to the avant-garde as he stretches his themes--and the constraints of realism--to embrace much broader themes, many of them pitting Enlightenment bred values with Christian-borne systems from the decaying Old World of European monarchism. Nowhere in this collection is this more evident than in the gentle delight, "The Paradise of Bachelors and Tartarus of Maids"--a short dyptich that pairs (and obliquely seems to betray some of the secrets of) a masonic men's club with the unmentioned women in their orbit. According to Melville, it's high time the democracy criticizes--rather than continue to play along with--the suffocating heirarcy in which man's role is to have a breezy go at enjoying obscure rituals rich with wine--while women supply the paper upon which to write. Although Melville, like most great writers, was a real stickler when it came to asking his world to live up to its own standards and ideals, readers can get whatever they put into relating to his stories. "Billy Budd," for example, is one of America's finest adventure tales. You can leave it at that, too. Beyond that, Melville asks if it is even possible to believe that the virtues of character can protect a man from those whose main conceit stems from an underhanded contempt of those very virtues. Even though this era's preoccupation with the barest of bones of very real values that underpinned Melville's times is usually uncultivated and malinformed, the ridiculous paces through which we take our own cultural values do not in any way detract from two important messages about Melville's life and times to remember: first, Melville seems to remember for us far more effectively--and more subtly, too--than many of today's more high-profile commentators; and second, Melville was, more than anything, a victim of the failure of those very values. Had those values been real--even in the mid-19th Century--Melville would doubtless have been recognized as the genius we rever today.
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An investigation of evil and innocence16 décembre 2000
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The nearby review by "brothersjuddotcom" is excellent, and will introduce you to many of the issues and opinions on this text. However, there is one more issue that I would like to draw attention to. Melville is concerned in "Billy Budd" with the human capacity for malevolence: doing evil for the sake of evil. Some other 19th-century American authors like Emerson and Thoreau have fairly "sunny" views of human nature. Melville (along with Poe and Hawthorne) thought it was dangerous to ignore the other side of being human. In particular, Melville wants to address the question, Can a person do evil just for the sake of being evil? Why does Claggart hate Billy Budd so much? Jealousy may be part of it, but that could not explain the depth of his hatred. Claggart is simply pure evil. His evil is motivated by nothing but the love of evil itself. Melville wants us to see that people like Claggart are a real possibility. And those who, like Billy Budd, are "innocent" will be helpless in the face of such evil. If these issues interest you, you can pursue this topic through Poe's great short story, "The Black Cat," and St. Augustine's _Confessions_, especially "Book II" (really a chapter in length). The other great story in this anthology is "Bartleby, Scrivener." It seems, on the surface, to be merely a story about mental illness. A clerk starts to simply refuse to do his work, until he cannot care for himself any more, and is committed to an insane asylum. But this is not a story only about depression. The key of the story is that Bartleby once worked in the "dead letter" department of the post office. Seeing the mountains of letters -- carrying the hopes, fears, and plans of so many people -- ending in a sort of clerical limbo, helped destroy Bartleby's sense that life has a point. Now, Bartleby suffers from the "deadly sin" of sloth (better described as "spiritual apathy"). He lacks the faith, hope and charity needed to find meaning in life. Consequently, he gradually sinks into inaction.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Bartleby the Scrivener20 août 2000
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I got this collection because it contains one of my favorite stories, "Bartleby, the Scrivener". It might be the first story about the modern day worker :) What do you do when confronted with someone who suddenly refuses to conform to societal expectations? What if this person will not lift a finger to help himself? Whose responsibility does he become? Maybe we each have a breaking point, some boundary beyond which the spirit would rebel and scream "I have received enough neglect and I won't take it anymore!" If I ever reached that breaking point, would my cries also go unanswered?
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
All the Melville you need sans Moby Dick17 septembre 2012
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This book is what I use in my Melville unit in High School. I highly recommend it to the novice to Melville's work.
"Bartleby the Scrivener" brings out the important irony of American life, that most people do not want you to tell the truth. When asked why he didn't do the work assigned, Bartleby answered truthfully and it kills him. How often does that happen in American life?
"Benito Cereno" shows the duplicity of the American Slave trade. And it shows that the ethics of the slave trade also depend on a lie.
"Billy Budd" shows that the first casualty in war time is the truth. And this dealing with liars and the truth and the immutable truth that the law without judgment is itself unjust.
Get this collection for your library.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Billy Budd and Other Stories by Herman Melville show the great author at the top of his game19 mars 2008
C. M Mills
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Herman Melville (1919-1891) is the great misunderstood and underappreciated genius of nineteenth century American literature. In Penguin's compilation of some of his best short stories we see his genius at full display of the authorial craft. Billy Budd is the tale of an innocent naive young foretopman on a British ship during the time England fought Napoleonic France. A recent mutiny of British tars at Nore had recently been put down. Billy is picked on by the burly and crude John Claggart. In retaliation against Claggart young Billy hits the bully. Claggart dies and Billy is forced to undergo a drumhead court martial. Captain Vere is forced to execute Billy for mutiny even though he knows the lad is an innocent soul. This tale presents the reader with a moral dilemma. Should persons in authority be merciful or should they see that strict justice is accomplished.? Vere (his name means "truth") is a complicated man. Billy Budd has been seen symbolically as a Christ figure beloved of the men aboard the ship upon which he serves. Composer Benjamin Brittain later turned this tragic tale into a successful opera. Billy is the innocent outsider who is a sacrifice to the realities of a tough world. I wonder if Melville who had lost a young son saw himself as Captain Vere and Billy as his deceased son? Benito Cereno deals with a seizure of a slave ship by Africans on their way to America. The ship is commanded by Benito Cereno a Spaniard but when it encounters the American whaler ship under Captain Delano deception is planned by the slaves. Delano believes the ship is still led by Cereno only to learn he is a prisoner under the crafty slave Babo. Melville was against chattel slavery. The story is a complex examination into the stain of slavery and the deceptions we face in life. Bartelby is an unusual story about a New York scrivener who labors in a laid back lawyer's office. Bartelby likes to say "I prefer not to..." in refusing to do certain duties he is asked to perform. He later is sent to the Tombs prison and dies. We learn he once worked in the dead letter office. Bartelby may be a portrait of Melville whose works were received as dead letters by the fickle public. The Encatantas or Enchanted Islands is a series of vignettes of visits made to the Galapagos Islands. Melville considered penguins to be the most worthless animals on earth. There are also stories of shipwrecks and the strange flora/fauna of the islands. I found this story to be a delight. The Bell Tower deals with an inventor who dies following making a clock striking device. The story is set in the Middle Ages and indicates the futility of human striving and creation. The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Women is a slight tale of the joys of being a bachelor and the hades of women forced to worked in a paper mill. Herman Melville is not an easy author to digest and understand. My few comments on these profound works only scratch a small surface of their complex artistry. The reader who wants to understand Melville is invited to a lifetime of reading pleasure as the stories yield a multiplicity of interpretations.