Billy Budd

autobiographic material does in billy bud

melville used in billy

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At the end of his book, not on the title page but rather in an epilogue, Melville professed to have founded his story in truth and told it “uncompromisingly.” Billy Budd is in fact partly autobiographical.

Melville wrestled with words and feelings as a writer, it isn't an accident that Billy’s speech is blocked.

Melville served in the Merchant Marines and traveled on whalers.

Billy represents Melville as a youth/ the characters of Vere and Claggart represent him as an old man

"It bears mention, in any autobiographically-predicated discussion of Billy Budd, that while Melville was never a captain, nor a master at arms, nor even an elderly sailor, he was in fact a lowly seaman, a crewman — a perspective which, as Zink points out, dominates the narration’s final chapters." (1)