Extended Audio Sample

Download Benito Cereno Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,965 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Piazza Tales Release Date:
Regular Price: $11.95 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $10.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

With its intense mix of mystery, adventure, and a surprise ending, Benito Cereno at first seems merely a provocative example from the genre Herman Melville created with his early bestselling novels of the sea. However, most Melville scholars consider it his most sophisticated work, and many, such as novelist Ralph Ellison, have hailed it as the most piercing look at slavery in all of American literature.

Based on a real life incident—the character names remain unchanged—Benito Cereno tells what happens when an American merchant ship comes upon a mysterious Spanish ship where the nearly all-black crew and their white captain are starving and yet remain hostile to offers of help. Melville’s most focused political work, it is rife with allusions (a ship named after Santo Domingo, site of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture), analogies (does the good-hearted yet obtuse American captain refer to the American character itself?), and mirroring images that deepen our reflections on human oppression and its resultant depravities.

It is, in short, a multilayered masterpiece that rewards repeated readings and deepens our appreciation of Melville’s genius.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BLAK_003330

Quotes & Awards

  • “In our own time of terror and torture, Benito Cereno has emerged as the most salient of Melville’s works: a tale of desperate men in the grip of a vengeful fury that those whom they hate cannot begin to understand.”

    Andrew Delbanco, author, Melville: His World and Work

  • “The noblest short story in American literature.”

    Edward J. O’Brien, American author and short-story anthologist

  • “Superficially, this is a story of slavery and mutiny on the high seas, but beneath the adventure-charged plot lies Melville’s examination of that subject which so fascinated him: the confrontation of extreme forces of good and evil in the universe.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

  • “Beneath the adventure-charged plot lies Melville’s examination of that subject which so fascinated him: the confrontation of extreme forces of good and evil in the universe.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jeanine | 2/20/2014

    " It's Melville, so it's dense, but the suspense and unraveling of the mystery is worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mark | 2/15/2014

    " Melville's ability to paint vivid psychological portraits of his characters is uncanny. Captain Delano's hubris and resultant ignorance is a vivid reminder of how foolish it is to give heed to stereotypes and assumptions. While the scenario here may be dated, or at least seem foreign, the moral is just as applicable today as ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shanice | 2/14/2014

    " Ok, the language is pretty dense and kinda boring at first, but give it some time to warm up. Benito Cereno is one of those stories that stands up on its own no matter the time period in which it was written. It has a slow and very detailed beginning because its ending is so wrapped up in those beginning details, but trust me, the ending is worth the wait. I suggest reading this at the same time as a friend, because I read this for a class and the discussions it provoked made it that much better, as we were able to point out certain passages in it that some of us might have missed. This is a short story that definitely sticks with you and encourages its readers to be more active in their reading. It's easy to get to lost in pretty words and passively read a text but this one encourages you to look for what's around the corner and to go back to explore its passages once you've reach its conclusion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amanda | 2/6/2014

    " This book moves in the same way as the craft that Herman Melville describes in such detail, each creek from the deck and streak of dust from the helm leaves us questioning. A sway of the waves, and our suspicions are jolted and just as we hit the water, all seems to be revealed. Over all I enjoyed this book, the details of the ship and the english, just like any older english, only added to the mystery. And when you've finished the book, and you've gained your sea legs, you'll have to read it again and decipher the clues yourself. Or just dive into Moby Dick, if you've taken your Dramamine. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations