Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story Of Wall Street
by Herman Melville
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This beautifully packaged series of classic novellas includes the works of Anton Chekhov, Colette, Henry James, Herman Melville, and Leo Tolstoy. These collectible editions are the first single-volume publications of these classic tales, offering a closer look at this underappreciated literary form and providing a fresh take on the world's most celebrated authors.
The rat race of Wall Street is turned on its head when Bartleby the copier decides that he simply "would prefer not to" in this absorbing early modernist tale.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
(in full Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street) Short story by Herman Melville, published anonymously in 1853 in Putnam's Monthly Magazine. It was collected in his 1856 volume The Piazza Tales. Melville wrote "Bartleby" at a time when his career seemed to be in ruins, and the story reflects his pessimism. The narrator, a successful Wall Street lawyer, hires a scrivener named Bartleby to copy legal documents. Though Bartleby is initially a hard worker, one day, when asked to proofread, he responds, "I would prefer not to." As time progresses, Bartleby increasingly "prefers not to" do anything asked of him. Eventually he dies of self-neglect, refusing offers of help, while jailed for vagrancy.
About the Author
Herman Melville set sail on a whaler at age 18. On his return he wrote several bestselling adventure novels. Starting with Moby-Dick however, his work became increasingly complex and drew more and more criticism until, in 1857, after The Confidence Man, Melville stopped publishing fiction. He drifted into obscurity, working for the Customs House in New York until his death.
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