William Spanos on Billy Budd


The Exceptionalist State and the State of Exception:  Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor.  The Johns Hopkins UP, 2011.



  1. this from Bill, about his work’s relevance and place among High School Debate students.

    Dear Paul, You probably remember my telling you that my work, especially on the Vietnam War, has become virtually an archive for the high school and college debate world in the U.S. because, somewhere along the line, a small heretical group took seriiously my repeated assertion (in oppositon to “liberal” debate) that power in this world is never equal. The enclosed note to me by a debate coach in Nebraska and the accompanying debate statement on American foreign policy of a high school debate team that picked up on *In the Nieghborhood of Zero* is a significant — and to me moving — testimony to this.

    I am amazed that my work is having such influence in the high school and college debate world. It says something about knowldege dissemeantion in the U.S. but I’m not quite sure what. Anyway, I’m wondering if this note and the debate statement is worth entering in the boundary website. Al the best, Bill


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