Bartleby, the Scrivener
Herman Melville (Author)
DescriptionFiction. Classics. Introduction by Shaun Randol. A masterpiece of short fiction, Bartleby is as relevant today as it was when it was first published anonymously in 1853. Melville wrote the story during the Guilded Age, a time when inequality between the haves and have-nots stretched the fabric of society. Today, instead of Vanderbilt and Carnegie we have Bezos and Zuckerberg. Economic injustice has sparked protests worldwide and capitalism seems tenuous. Bartleby, the first occupier of Wall Street, is a frustrated man of our times.
October 30, 2019
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About the Author
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His writing draws on his experience at sea as a common sailor, exploration of literature and philosophy, and engagement in the contradictions of American society in a period of rapid change. He developed a complex, baroque style; the vocabulary is rich and original, a strong sense of rhythm infuses the elaborate sentences, the imagery is often mystical or ironic, and the abundance of allusion extends to biblical scripture, myth, philosophy, literature, and the visual arts. Melville was born in New York City, the third child of a merchant in French dry goods and his wife. His formal education ended abruptly after his father died in 1832, as this left the family in financial straits. He briefly became a schoolteacher before he took to sea in 1839 as a sailor on a merchant ship. In 1840, he signed aboard the whaler Acushnet for his first whaling voyage but jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. He returned to Boston in 1844 after further adventures. In August 1850, Melville moved his growing family to Arrowhead, a farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he established a profound but short-lived friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom he dedicated Moby-Dick.