`Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges.' So wrote Melville of Billy Budd, Sailor, among the greatest of his works and, in its richness and ambiguity, among the most problematic. The selection in this volume represents the best of Melville's shorter fiction, and uses the most authoritative texts. The eight shorter tales included here were composed during Melville's years as a magazine writer in the mid 1850's and establish him, along with Hawthorne and Poe, as the greatest American story writer of his age. All show Melville a master of irony, point-of-view, and tone, whose fables ripple out in ever increasing circles of meaning. Bartleby, the Scrivener; Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!; The Fiddler; The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids; The Lightning-Rod Man; The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles; Benito Cereno; I and My Chimney; Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative).