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In Manhattan, an elderly lawyer's business is growing. Having two scriveners in his employ, the lawyer advertises for a third to meet demand. Enter Bartleby, a glum albeit quality scrivener. However, the lawyer quickly discovers that something is off with his new employee. When asked to perform any duties outside of copywriting, Bartleby responds with a canned 'I would prefer not to.' Soon Bartleb…

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Captain Delano is approached on the open sea by a battered-looking ship lead by Captain Benito Cereno. Cereno, always accompanied by his personal slave Babo, explains that his crew was transporting a group of slaves from Africa when their ship was caught and damaged in severe weather. He is polite but always timid, and requests supplies for his ships remaining journey. Captain Delano agrees to hel…

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In 1797, young Billy Budd is impressed into naval service. It is a perilous time for a British Royal Navy still reeling from mutinies and marauding French ships. When Billy is forcibly transferred to HMS Bellipotent, he evokes the wrath of John Claggart, the ship's Master-at-arms. Claggart falsely accuses Billy of conspiracy to mutiny, a charge that will have a profound effect on the fates of both…

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Billy Budd: Booktrack Edition adds an immersive musical soundtrack to your audiobook listening experience! In 1797, young Billy Budd is impressed into naval service. It is a perilous time for a British Royal Navy still reeling from mutinies and marauding French ships. When Billy is forcibly transferred to HMS Bellipotent, he evokes the wrath of John Claggart, the ship's Master-at-arms. Claggart fa…

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Widely considered one of the great American novels, Herman Melville's masterpiece went largely unread during his lifetime and was out of print at the time of his death in 1891. Called the greatest book about the sea ever written by D.H. Lawrence, Moby Dick features detailed descriptions of whale hunting and whale oil extraction as well as beautiful, incisive writing on race, class, religion, art,…

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When Ishmael joined the crew of a whaling ship called the Pequod, he was eager for a life of adventure on the high seas. But he didn’t know that what he was about to embark on would be the adventure of a lifetime. With Captain Ahab at the helm, Ishmael and his crewmates quickly learned that they weren't simply hunting whales. They were on a quest for the biggest catch there ever was: the great whi…

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Considered to be the least characteristic of Melville's stories, somewhat resembling the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, The Bell-Tower is a dark literary work that explores, though never fully reveals, its central mystery. An eccentric artist and architect dreams up plans for a magnificent bell tower. After receiving approval from the city, he happily begins construction. When ci…

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The Encantadas (or Enchanted Isles), is a series of ten descriptive sketches, and a reminiscence from Melville's sailor days revealing the ecologically pristine Galapagos Islands as both enchanting and horrifying. Containing some of Melville's most memorable prose, The Encantadas were a critical success at a time when Melville's fortunes were down. After publication, the New York Dispatch cited th…

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Chosen for inclusion in William Evans Burton's Cyclopediae of Wit and Humor of 1857, with an illustration by Henry Louis Stephens, The Lightning-Rod Man was the one Melville tale to be available throughout his lifetime, thanks to reissues of this volume. More a parable than a character-driven story, The Lightning-rod man is a charlatan who tries to profit by selling fearful people lightning-rods d…

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Written as an introductory story to The Piazza Tales, the protagonist of The Piazza, idealizes a radiant spot on the mountain he looks upon from his piazza. Traveling to the spot he realizes it is a house, occupied by the unhappy girl Marianna, who longs to see the lucky individual who lives in the white house she looks upon from her window. The narrator realizes he has been the object of a fantas…

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Written in seclusion following the intense negative public reaction to the publication of his novel Pierre, The Piazza Tales is Melville's accessible and entertaining collection of short stories concerning love, labor and loss. The collection includes the author's three most important achievements in the genre of short fiction, Bartleby, the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, and The Encantadas, his sketch…

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Based on Melville's real-life experiences after having jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, his first novel was extremely popular, provoking public skepticism until the events within were corroborated by a fellow castaway. Typee is properly considered a work of fiction, as the three weeks stay on which the author based his story is here extended to four months, and the book is supplemented with i…

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