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Billy Budd read-a-thon

April 7 @ 12:00 pm

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Herman Melville’s posthumous novella Billy Budd, Hot Plate Brewing will host a read-a-thon in their taproom while celebrating the release of Handsome Sailor, their English IPA we brewed in collaboration with the Berkshire Historical Society, which is located at Herman Melville’s historic house at Arrowhead. .
The Berkshire County Historical Society will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor with a series of events and programs throughout 2024. The novella was written during the last five years of Melville’s life, but remained unknown until 1918 when Melville’s first biographer Raymond M. Weaver was shown the handwritten manuscript by Melville’s granddaughter, Eleanor Melville Metcalf.

She had discovered the manuscript after her grandmother’s death in 1906 in a tin breadbox that Lizzy Melville had hidden in the attic. Published in 1924, Billy Budd is considered a masterpiece second only to Moby-Dick. Billy Budd, Sailor was written at Melville’s 26th Street home in Manhattan. The novella posthumously brought Melville out of obscurity, ensuring his place among America’s literary giants.

Billy Budd in the Bread Box: The Story of Herman Melville & Eleanor, a children’s chapter book, written by BCHS Writer-In-Residence Emeritus, Jana Laiz and published in 2017, tenderly recounts the relationship between Melville and his granddaughter Eleanor during his writing of the novella and its eventual placement and discovery in the breadbox.

In January of this year, the Billy Budd celebration began with fourth grade students from Williams Elementary School in Pittsfield reading the book and participating in a six-week residency with Laiz, writing their own stories based on historic objects from the BCHS collection as prompts.

On April 7 beginning at noon, Hot Plate Brewing Co. will host a mini marathon reading of Billy Budd, Sailor. The community is invited to participate by registering to read from the book for fifteen-minute slots; register by using the BOOK NOW button at berkshirehistory.org. To mark the occasion, Sarah Real, Hot Plate owner and head brewer, has created an English IPA, appropriately named the Handsome Sailor.

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Future events include …

• A performance presented by Berkshire Opera Festival of selections from the opera Billy Budd, a 1951 opera scored by Benjamin Britten with a libretto by E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier.

• An audio recording by Academy Award nominated actor Paul Giamatti of a new audio book based on the original 1924 manuscript.

• An exhibit in the Melville Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum exploring Billy Budd, with highlights including the desk from Melville’s New York apartment and the actual breadbox in which the manuscript was found.

• A staged reading for children and families of the play adaptation by Travis Daly of Laiz’s Billy Budd In The Breadbox.

• A screening of the 1962 film Billy Budd, directed and produced by Peter Ustinov.

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Event Details

Details

Date:
April 7
Time:
12:00 pm
Event Categories:
, , ,

Event Location

Hot Plate Brewing Co.
1 School St.
Pittsfield, MA

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