Billy Budd Criticism

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Critical treatments of Billy Budd and of Melville abound, which is an irony given the origins of the novel. When Melville died in 1891, he left behind the manuscript for Billy Budd, which would not be discovered among his papers for another thirty years. At the time of Melville's death, his reputation as a literary talent had faded, but a few obituary notices did take note of Melville's earlier success and fame. Some of what was written about Melville immediately following his death had a regretful tone, as if his slip into obscurity had constituted a loss for American letters. An obituary in the New York Times, alluding to Melville's past fame, remarked that "this speedy oblivion by which a once famous man so long survived his fame is almost unique, and it is not easily explicable." The obituary went on to wonder at "why [Melville's books] are read...

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This section contains 942 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Billy Budd Study Guide
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Billy Budd from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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