American Classics II

Thursday, March 2nd, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Main Library – This month’s selection is Billy Budd by Herman Melville. A dense and poetic account of the human cost of realpolitik, Billy Budd asks how far we should go to protect the status quo. John Claggart, master-at-arms of a British warship, alleges a sailor is talking mutiny. The sailor, Billy, isn’t just innocent of the charge; he’s a true innocent. Yet when confronted by his accuser, Billy reacts impulsively, striking Claggart. The resulting trial shows the horrors that can arise from a civilized society following its own laws.

Convened by Alice Crozier, Professor of English Emerita, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Free and open to the public. Copies of the book are available from BCCLS.

Future readings include:

  • May 4–American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  • June 1–Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver