3. Date of Publication:
4. Historical Information:
As divulged to the reader, Billy Budd takes place in 1797 in the midst of the French Revolution. Throughout the mid- 1790s, Britain enacted new quota requirements to enlist 45,000 men in the Royal Navy, which was filled by means of volunteers, the Quota Acts, and most popularly, the impressing of men from merchant ships, as Melville demonstrates. Actual events that occurred in April and May of 1797 were the Spithead and Nore Mutinies, these incidents were offset by the despicable onboard conditions, the severe punishments and increasingly sparse pay while at sea. The pitying British government met the demands of the sailors at the Spithead mutiny; however, the mutinous sailors at the Nore were not so easily won over. Richard Parker was the ringleader behind the plan to not succumb to the government immediately and hold out longer. With this occurrence fresh in mind, it was of Captain Vere’s best intention to prevent mutiny aboard the Bellipotent.
5. Biographical Information About the Author:
Born to Allan and Maria Gansevoort Melvill, on August 1, 1819, Herman Melville was the third of eight children who grew up in New York. By the mid- 1830s, Melville had already started writing, but unfortunately, his family had financial problems, and he had to take a job as a cabin boy on a merchant ship that set sail in June 1839. In January of 1841, he sailed again on a whaler named Acushnet and embarked on an excursion to the South Seas; and later the same year he enrolled on an Australian whaler, Lucy Ann, which anchored Tahiti. These two locations are where he found his inspiration for his first novel, Typee (1846), and his second novel Omoo (1847), which both describe Melville’s somewhat romanticized version of his experiences on these islands. Over the next decade, Melville wrote seven more novels... [continues]
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