First, he references the original French as proof, and he seems to be presenting to thereader his own translations into English, which were of courseNOT the ones read or interpreted by Melville.
The following are of particular interest,considering that Melville had finished a draft of BillyBudd by the time he received the translation of the Balzac letters.
there are two possible misuses of his checklist:concluding that Melville in fact read all the books listed there,or that he did not read the books not solisted." Mary K.
While Séraphita/us serves as aneutralizing spirit above them, the lovers and Becker share adependence on intellectual activities, but at positiveand negative poles:
A triangle of the same sort can be sketched for BillyBudd.
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Finally, the last words on Vere'slips are "Billy Budd, Billy Budd" and not in "the accents ofremorse" (BB, 129), suggesting that Billy's death andVere's own reflect the relationship of the worshipped forerunner(foretopman, the sun) to the follower (the moon).After this recognition of such close parallels, the readercan tell that the structure of the interactions in the two novelsultimately becomes the same.
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Selected Dialog: for longer excerpts relating to the court martial of Billy Budd.
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Melville had originally written here "the full shekinah of thatgrand dawn" and only excised it with his final pencil corrections(BB, 412), perhaps to make his point less obvious, sinceat the same stage he changed the description of Billy's deathfrom an "ascension" to a less revealing "execution" (BB,414).
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Wemay safely interpret it as an emphatic key to the nearly finishedstory as Melville then conceived it.Other important actions in Billy Budd
are assignedmotivation from volition, or the lack of it.
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This is one of many examples of Melville's narrator playing withambiguity and working against his own "reporting." In truth,Billy is meant to be "the prodigy of repose in the form suspended in air" (BB
, 127). A close reading of Billy Budd, Sailor
reveals manydetails that support the direct influence of Parsons's andWormeley's rendering of Balzac's Séraphita
beyondan overriding consideration of will and the voluntary surrenderof life by euthanasia.
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His last words were, "Billy Budd, Billy Budd." Chapter XXX details information reported about Billy's death in a seamen's newsletter in which authority is said to have defeated the threat of mutiny aboard Captain Vere's ship.
Billy Budd - Good And Evil Billy is a handsome, young sailor, new to the ship and eager to impress
, in both the Introductionand the text proper ofthe Roberts Séraphita
, which Melville owned andmarked during the last three stages of work on the BillyBudd
manuscript, one can find reference extensivelyto the philosophic conception that in phenomenal cases the powerof will can overcome the unjust elements of material life.Hayford and Sealts point out that Billy Budd
has been calleda "testament of acceptance" and conversely a "testament ofresistance" (BB
, 193 - 194) by opposing readers; but itcould also rightly be called, like Séraphita
, a "testament of will." It is a story of a navy captain'swillfulness, the secret will of a master-at-arms, the innocentwill of an angelic foretopman.
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It appears that as Melville continued withhis composition, Billy Budd
came closer and closer tobeing his own working out of the philosophy portrayed in theirbook.