Billy Budd, Sailor - OE Book Club, January 2021
Herman Melville's final masterpiece, found unpublished on his desk at his death.
Billy Budd, Sailor would emerge, after its publication in 1924, as one of Melville's best-loved books--and one of his most open, with its discussion of homosexualty.
In it, Melville returns to the sea to tell the story of Billy, a cheerful, hard working, and handsome young sailor, conscripted to work against his will on another ship, where he soon finds himself persecuted by Claggart, the paranoid master-at-arms. As things escalate beyond the naive Billy's control, tragedy looms on the horizon like Melville's great white whale, and the story become Melville's final, sublime plunge into the classic tussle between civilization and chaos, between oppression and freedom, as well as the book in which he discusses homosexuality most openly.
One of the major works of American literature.