Collected in this volume are Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd—presented in the best texts available, those published during Melville's lifetime and corrected by the author.
As his writing reflects, Melville was extraordinarily well read. "Contexts" collects important sources for each novel, including writings by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amasa Delano, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
"Criticism" includes twenty-eight essays about the novels sure to promote classroom discussion. Contributors include Leo Marx, Elizabeth Hardwick, Frederick Busch, Robert Lowell, Herschel Parker, Carolyn L. Karcher, Thomas Mann, and Hannah Arendt.
A Selected Bibliography is included.