Hayford and Sealts's text was the first accurate version of Melville's final novel. Based on a close analysis of the manuscript, thoroughly annotated, and packaged with a history of the text and perspectives for its criticism, this edition will remain the definitive version of a profoundly suggestive story.
"The texts are impeccably accurate. . . . The collection is accompanied by an unobtrusive but expert annotation. . . . Probably Melville's finest short work, the incomplete 'Billy Budd,' [is] a striking reworking of the crucifixion set in the English maritime service of the Revolutionary period."—John Sutherland, The Los Angeles Times