Herman Melville was an American poet and novelist of the American Renaissance, best known for his allusive adventure novel "Moby-Dick". Praised by critics of Britain and United States, "Billy Budd" is a highly symbolic poem about the tragic fate of a seaman forced to commit a crime. In the end, he has nothing left but to accept his fate and go to the execution of his own free will.
Billy and his sister want new bicycles, but they don't have any money. Then their grandmother has an idea. There's a competition in Palace magazine. The first prize is ?500. 'What do you think?' Billy asks his sister. 'We can buy two new bicycles for ?500,' she says.
'Life is a pic-nic en costume; one must take a part, assume a character, stand ready in a sensible way to play the fool'. In "The Confidence-Man", Melville's unnerving and hallucinatory satire on the American dream, a slippery trickster and master of disguise comes to swindle his fellow passengers - who themselves may also be con-men - aboard a Mississippi steamboat. "Billy Budd, Sailor", published after Melville's death in 1891, is a gripping allegory of good and evil, as an innocent man, pressed into service on a British man-of-war, is falsely accused of mutiny. Both these late works are animated with the dark genius of the greatest of American writers. This is the Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.