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Billy Budd, Sailor is a novella by American writer Herman Melville left unfinished at Melville's death in 1891. Acclaimed by critics as a masterpiece when a hastily transcribed version was finally published in 1924, it quickly took its place as a classic second only to Moby-Dick among Melville's works. Budd is a "handsome sailor" who strikes and inadvertently kills his false accuser, Master-at-arms John Claggart. The ship's Captain, Edward Vere, recognizes the innocence of Budd's intent but the law of mutiny requires him to ...

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