This game’s players are: Nick, James, Romario, Greg, Liz, Miguel.
Our “gamified” Billy Budd will be unlike any novel you’re read and unlike any game you’ve played (though for RPG fans, maybe a bit more familiar). Each of us will play one or more roles. Roles can be:
- “inside” the text of Billy Budd (and remember, it’s already an “inside” story): Billy, Claggart, and Vere, of course, but also more peripheral characters might be fun to play, fleshing out aspects of characters or exploring things that happen “offstage” in ways that Melville’s text ignores or represses, the narrator of the text (who, remember, is neither a character nor Melville, as we’ve explored via Iser’s work)
- “outside” the text but around it: Melville himself, of course, but also his family members or heirs (he died before finishing the novella), the publishers of the various editions of Billy Budd (first published in 1924), the first wave of reviewers and critics to engage it in the 1920s, more recent interpreters of it, such as Peter Ustinov, writer/director of the 1962 film version, and so on
From within your role, you can do at least three things:
- make a move
- respond to a move
- reflect on a move
How do you win? There’s no winning.
When is it over? When the syllabus says so, and then only if we’re bored.
How will be be evaluated? As much as I’d like to evaluate you on how much fun you’ve had, I’ll have to stick with the quantity/quality of the writing you’ve done. More detail to follow…
The male body is unmistakably lovely to male eyes; male same-sex desires run rampant, especially in such close quarters as that of a ship. But, why, Claggart, why is Billy the object of your homoerotic affection? The novella is centered about the hierarchical respect for its hero, in which the possibility of mutiny lingers at … View More
Rummaging in the drawers today, I found a number of wonderful little paper artifacts, and so I thought maybe I’d let you in on a few. This first one is an early attempt at the prologue libretto, the immediate opening of the opera in which we are introduced to a Vere alone, awash in his … View More
Ah, of the shipfather to speak these words to his fated son–is he, Billy, the first pure man, Adamic in chastity only to stumble, or like the all-forgiving Christ whom the shipmates raise up at our work’s conclusion? We had a fair bit of trouble figuring out what we would do about Vere, that vehicle … View More
Last night I awoke in a feverish sweat from a most irregular dream. In this dream I was once again witnessing the execution of Billy Budd, though through his own eyes. I was him in this dream and every movement of mine was one of his on that day. I watched the sun rising, heard the … View More
The sun was just rising and the day was upon us. As I looked upon my fellow crewmates I heard eight bells ring in the distance. The intensity filled me with awe: a spectacle for me to be an object of pleasure. The law was right, the law was true and so I must make … View More
But Vere, did my conscription not serve as a means to eventually justify my end? If you truly understood our natures as good captains are aware of their crew, then the conclave might’ve ended differently. However, I respect you for acting justly within your authority and considering my crime as it is and no more … View More
You are a man of action, Billy Boy. Unfortunately, you lack the virtue of restraint. Fists have their place in the navy, but control of one’s emotions is fundamental to manhood. Perhaps it was a lack of fatherly example that stunted you in that way. John Claggart may have been an abrasive sort of man, … View More
Our conversations on this vessel call for a privacy that’s regarded as a social norm – whether it be my conversation with the Dansker, V-v-vere’s conversation with Claggart or even my conversation with Vere after I was whisked away to him. There is never any musings, but rather general banter that is stereotypical … View More
perhaps not my intention to make him in anywhere especially ‘in a closet’ but rather just bear the symbol of evil. Given that he has almost no background, it is most left inconclusive but I can see how that is. Let me reveal: what’s in a name? A name like any other would it still … View More
Guys, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, there is a homosexual lurking in the shadows of Billy Budd; yes, John Claggart, I am talking to you. Male eyes look lovingly upon the male body, and in the physical containment of sea, with only homosocial bonds for leagues and leagues, one must ask … View More