Benito Cereno (Library Edition) (Piazza Tales)

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9781441714749: Benito Cereno (Library Edition) (Piazza Tales)
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[This is the Audiobook CD Library Edition in vinyl case.]

[Directed by Gabrielle de Cuir]

[Read by Stefan Rudnicki]

With its intense mix of mystery, adventure, and a surprise ending, Benito Cereno at first seems merely a provocative example from the genre Herman Melville created with his early bestselling novels of the sea. However, most Melville scholars consider it his most sophisticated work, and many, such as novelist Ralph Ellison, have hailed it as the most piercing look at slavery in all of American literature.

Based on a real life incident -- the character names remain unchanged -- Benito Cereno tells what happens when an American merchant ship comes upon a mysterious Spanish ship where the nearly all-black crew and their white captain are starving and yet remain hostile to offers of help. Melville's most focused political work, it is rife with allusions (a ship named after Santo Domingo, site of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture), analogies (does the good-hearted yet obtuse American captain refer to the American character itself?), and mirroring images that deepen our reflections on human oppression and its resultant depravities.

It is, in short, a multilayered masterpiece that rewards repeated readings and deepens our appreciation of Melville's genius.

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About the Author:

HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891) was born in New York. Family hardships forced him to leave school for various occupations, including shipping as a cabin boy to Liverpool in 1839--a voyage that sparked his love for the sea. A shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction, he is considered an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose.

Review:

''In our own time of terror and torture, Benito Cereno has emerged as the most salient of Melville's works: a tale of desperate men in the grip of a vengeful fury that those whom they hate cannot begin to understand.'' --Andrew Delbanco, author, Melville: His World and Work

''The noblest short story in American literature.'' --Edward J. O'Brien, American author and short-story anthologist

''Superficially, this is a story of slavery and mutiny on the high seas, but beneath the adventure-charged plot lies Melville's examination of that subject which so fascinated him: the confrontation of extreme forces of good and evil in the universe.'' --Masterpieces of World Literature

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312452421: Benito Cereno (Bedford College Editions)

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ISBN 10:  031245242X ISBN 13:  9780312452421
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