The classic tale of existential despair
A Wall Street lawyer specializing in bonds and mortgages hires a respectable young man to copy legal documents by hand. At first, the new scrivener approaches his duties with a calm efficiency. Then comes the day when his response to a new assignment is, “I would prefer not to.” The mysterious phrase soon becomes Bartleby’s reply to everything asked of him, and his surrender to inertia is both maddening and inexorable. Torn between frustration and pity, anger and sorrow, his employer desperately tries to save Bartleby, but the cause is as doomed to disappointment as life itself.
A strange and haunting fable that continues to resonate a century and a half after it was first published, Bartleby, the Scrivener is a masterpiece of American literature.
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Open Road Media; August 2014
- ISBN: 9781497659704
- Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
- Title: Bartleby, the Scrivener
- Author: Herman Melville
Imprint: Open Road Media
In The Press
“[An] exquisitely existential tale of 19th-century Wall Street.” —The New York Times
“A great American novelist—the greatest American novelist, perhaps.” —The Atlantic
About The Author
Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City and worked as a bank clerk and a schoolteacher before joining the crew of the whaler Acushnet on its voyage from Massachusetts to the South Pacific. Melville jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, an experience memorably recounted in his bestselling autobiographical novel Typee. Much of his later work, including Moby-Dick and the classic novellas Bartleby, the Scrivener and Benito Cereno, was not well received during his lifetime, but Melville is now considered one of the nineteenth century’s most innovative and important authors.