Billy Budd | Critical Essay by Peter Shaw

This literature criticism consists of approximately 25 pages of analysis & critique of Billy Budd.
This section contains 7,225 words
(approx. 25 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Peter Shaw

SOURCE: “The Fate of a Story,” in American Scholar, Vol. 62, Autumn, 1993, pp. 591–600.

In the following essay, Shaw questions recent interpretations of John Claggart in Billy Budd, asserting that these analyses spring from the deletion of the story's preface in the 1962 edition.

In the 1980s the academic interpretation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd, a short novel that had inspired a certain amount of debate over the years, shifted almost entirely to the view that the story actually means the opposite of what it says. No scholarly discovery nor any new critical insight justified this remarkable turnabout. Instead, the dubious side in a debate triumphed by default as defenders of a commonsensical understanding all but disappeared from the scene. The reasons for this outcome had less to do with literary analysis than with culture and politics. For at issue among the critics...

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This section contains 7,225 words
(approx. 25 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Peter Shaw
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