Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Herman Melville's Billy Budd. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Billy Budd: Introduction
Billy Budd: Plot Summary
Billy Budd: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Billy Budd: Themes
Billy Budd: Quotes
Billy Budd: Characters
Billy Budd: Symbols
Billy Budd: Literary Devices
Billy Budd: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Herman Melville
Historical Context of Billy Budd
Other Books Related to Billy Budd
- Full Title: Billy Budd (an Inside Narrative)
- When Written: Late 1880s to 1891
- Where Written: New York
- When Published: 1924
- Literary Period: American Romanticism
- Genre: Novella, historical fiction.
- Setting: Summer of 1797, aboard the Indomitable at sea in the Mediterranean
- Climax: After being falsely accused of plotting mutiny, Billy hits Claggart, unintentionally killing him.
- Antagonist: John Claggart
- Point of View: The story is recounted in the first-person voice of an anonymous narrator, but one who often has the knowledge of an omniscient narrator.
Extra Credit for Billy Budd
A Forgotten Story. Billy Budd was never published during Melville's lifetime. A Columbia University professor researching Melville discovered the unknown manuscript of the novella among Melville's letters in 1919 and Billy Budd was at last published soon after.