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Bartleby by Herman Melville
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Bartleby (original 1853; edition 1997)

by Herman Melville, Benjamin Orteski (Postface)

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1,304425,994 (3.92)64
Member:clairwitch
Title:Bartleby
Authors:Herman Melville
Other authors:Benjamin Orteski (Postface)
Info:Mille et une nuits (1997), Poche, 80 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville (1853)

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Bartleby The Scrivener are a ridiculously significant modern tale from late 19th century which question morality and humanity that goes beyond the world of productivity and capitalism. As much as Melville drawing the humanism inspiration from Hawthorne in science, he did it by human ethics. In a simpler way of generalizing this book, this is one weird crazy book. They call this book an absurdist and existentialist fiction but I find its a lot harder to round up the author easily. I genuinely prefer the discussion on this book than the book itself because the book is confusing while reading but became more clear when you've find that its filled with metaphors on some kind.

The story is narrated by a lawyer who told a story of the most peculiar person he ever met; Bartleby. He had problems regarding his scriveners, Nipper and Turkey who have their own temperament which leads to the hiring of Bartleby. At first, he was a good and wonderful employee until one day when asked by the narrator to proofread a document, Bartleby would say "I would prefer not to". The narrator let it slide until Bartleby grew increasingly unproductive and eccentric with his repetitive that he would prefer not to do everything asked by everyone even for his own well-being that it alarmed the narrator that he tried to persuade Bartleby to give a reason why but Bartleby would say continuously, "I would prefer not to".

A scrivener is a copyist. You could say it is a modern equivalent of a xerox machine. While in this story, Bartleby became the main focus due to his persistence and curious way of conduct that frightened everyone around him. He contrasted the world the narrator lived in. His depression became so infectious that the narrator who sympathize but fear him enough that he relocated his business after failing to nudge Bartleby to any form of work or life that Bartleby caused the tenants and new occupants trouble which lands him to even worst condition.

Some would consider Bartleby as a language and by his action, he became a verbal succubus sucking emotions around him just by his verbal persistence. He can also be seen as a victim of the modernity and this degradation began from his previous employment which the narrator sadly mourn the lost of humanity in him. The novel even question about the right of the living if only the living could choose to not proliferate under productivity. It also shows how being different can be misinterpreted if not being understood and in search of knowing, the narrator found himself unwittingly empathized with Bartleby who continued to eluded him by being passive until the narrator became helpless as it destroyed Bartleby from the inside. Maybe Bartleby aren't meant to be understood nor to be saved but the situation around him are relevant in this time to ignore the underlying clues embedded inside the novella. Even still, it alludes me. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
Bartleby The Scrivener are a ridiculously significant modern tale from late 19th century which question morality and humanity that goes beyond the world of productivity and capitalism. As much as Melville drawing the humanism inspiration from Hawthorne in science, he did it by human ethics. In a simpler way of generalizing this book, this is one weird crazy book. They call this book an absurdist and existentialist fiction but I find its a lot harder to round up the author easily. I genuinely prefer the discussion on this book than the book itself because the book is confusing while reading but became more clear when you've find that its filled with metaphors on some kind.

The story is narrated by a lawyer who told a story of the most peculiar person he ever met; Bartleby. He had problems regarding his scriveners, Nipper and Turkey who have their own temperament which leads to the hiring of Bartleby. At first, he was a good and wonderful employee until one day when asked by the narrator to proofread a document, Bartleby would say "I would prefer not to". The narrator let it slide until Bartleby grew increasingly unproductive and eccentric with his repetitive that he would prefer not to do everything asked by everyone even for his own well-being that it alarmed the narrator that he tried to persuade Bartleby to give a reason why but Bartleby would say continuously, "I would prefer not to".

A scrivener is a copyist. You could say it is a modern equivalent of a xerox machine. While in this story, Bartleby became the main focus due to his persistence and curious way of conduct that frightened everyone around him. He contrasted the world the narrator lived in. His depression became so infectious that the narrator who sympathize but fear him enough that he relocated his business after failing to nudge Bartleby to any form of work or life that Bartleby caused the tenants and new occupants trouble which lands him to even worst condition.

Some would consider Bartleby as a language and by his action, he became a verbal succubus sucking emotions around him just by his verbal persistence. He can also be seen as a victim of the modernity and this degradation began from his previous employment which the narrator sadly mourn the lost of humanity in him. The novel even question about the right of the living if only the living could choose to not proliferate under productivity. It also shows how being different can be misinterpreted if not being understood and in search of knowing, the narrator found himself unwittingly empathized with Bartleby who continued to eluded him by being passive until the narrator became helpless as it destroyed Bartleby from the inside. Maybe Bartleby aren't meant to be understood nor to be saved but the situation around him are relevant in this time to ignore the underlying clues embedded inside the novella. Even still, it alludes me. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
Starts out funny, but ends up quite moving and deep. There's something compelling about Bartleby, his extreme composure, his unflinching yet mild refusal. There's something unnervingly inhuman about him, precisely because behind that veneer you know there is something essentially human, vulnerable, and very much like ourselves. But we are not privy to the inner life that lies behind the blank expression, and Melville wisely does not let us in on it. It's hard not to feel sorry for both the narrator and for Bartleby as well, and the whole time I was reading it I was seeing myself assuming either role very easily, by a turn of fate or flip of coin. ( )
  JimmyChanga | Sep 11, 2013 |
This one is a very intiguing book. Melville could have made a full length book with this one. It was too short and I would have love to know more about Bartleby. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Aug 12, 2013 |
Sbalorditivo e disarmante.

Con i suoi misteriosi rifiuti, Bartleby fa traballare tutte le certezze di chi lo circonda, fondate sulla supposizione che siano indiscutibili perché largamente accettate.

Liberatorio. ( )
  Kazegafukuhi | Aug 10, 2013 |
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Dedication
First words
I am a rather elderly man.
Quotations
Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation,
when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby
in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, “I would prefer not
to.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0974607800, Paperback)

"I prefer not to," he respectfully and slowly said, and mildly disappeared.

Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-DickBartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City’s Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville's most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, "I would prefer not to"?

The tale is one of the final works of fiction published by Melville before, slipping into despair over the continuing critical dismissal of his work after Moby-Dick, he abandoned publishing fiction. The work is presented here exactly as it was originally published in Putnam's magazine—to, sadly, critical disdain.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Wall Street is turned upside-down when Bartleby, a copier, decides he is no longer willing to do it.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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