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Download Billy Budd, Sailor Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Billy Budd, Sailor (Unabridged), by Herman Melville
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (6,987 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: William Roberts Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Written some 40 years after Moby Dick, Melville's Billy Budd is a moving tale of good versus evil. Set aboard a British navy ship at the end of the eighteenth century, a young, innocent sailor's charm and good nature put the men around him at ease. Ship life agreed with Billy. He made friends quickly and was well liked, which infuriated John Claggart, the ship's cold-blooded superior officer.

Mutiny was a continual threat greatly feared by naval officers. Even minor offences were dealt with harshly to keep crews in their place, regardless of whether the accused was guilty or innocent.

The envious Master-at-Arms becomes obsessed with the destruction of the 'Handsome Sailor' and torments the young man until his false accusations lead to an eventual charge of treason against Billy. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Siddhartha | 1/31/2014

    " Very descriptive and very melodramatic. It speaks to me in more ways than one but perhaps a second read is necessary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sean Donovan | 1/27/2014

    " Homoerotic to a glorious extreme, in 'Billy Budd' the titular character is constantly referred to as "The Handsome Sailor." It's easy to imagine Melville intending it as a device to indicate a role aboard the ship, that every ship has a "handsome sailor," the subject of lust and affection for the sex-starved men at sea. The gay history of maritime life is a long and substantive one, and this is really a very critical text in artistically representing it. I don't quite know how this text has ever NOT been interpreted as a queer work: the main plot follows everyone on the ship in love with Billy, and the ship's master-at-arms John Claggart's inexplicable rage at the boy. Claggart's also described frequently by his role, master-at-arms, one related to discipline and good social conduct, while Billy's suggests passion and indulgence in the finer things in life. It's quite easy to see the point Melville is making. Claggart's rage is a sort of sexual mania, his lust for Billy taken to a place of id-fueled sadism. So goes 'Billy Budd,' I won't spoil the plot but the progression is artful: the ship comes to a point of favoring law and justice over Billy's sensuality, as if we've witnessed an allegory of the gay men of the late nineteenth century. They toy with the sexual excesses and opportunities presented by a new world with a liberalizing moral order, but retreat back to the safety of heterosexual life, where it's safe. And though it's needless to say, Melville's prose is elegant and lovely to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Keeley | 1/24/2014

    " Hands down the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read! It's only redeaming quality is that it is very short. It was agonizing and horrid. Boring, and difficult. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress | 1/16/2014

    " I like the Christ metaphor, but I found this one dry and hard to read. I had to force myself to get it read. "

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