Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Baby Sale
The Confidence-Man and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided with every order. Slight wear on edges and covers; otherwise item is in very good condition.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Confidence-Man: His M... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – December 19, 2005

43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393979275 ISBN-10: 039397927X Edition: 2nd

Buy New
Price: $16.91
25 New from $11.95 25 Used from $6.19
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, December 19, 2005
$16.91
$11.95 $6.19
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$3.00
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

$16.91 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Norton Critical Editions) + Moby-Dick (Second Edition)  (Norton Critical Editions)
Price for both: $34.43

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I love the book, more than Moby-Dick, more than any native novel I can think of. Melville is the muse of my America, and The Confidence-Man is my vade mecum. I ve read it over and over, and sometimes tried to imitate it. And yet. . . . Is there a more lighthearted and amusing tale that s meaner and more misanthropic?" --Jim Lewis, Conjunctions

"Melville took an awful licking. He was bound to. He was an original, aboriginal." --Charles Olson

"The oddities of thought, felicities of expression, the wit, humor, and rollicking inspirations are as abundant and original as in any of the productions of this most remarkable writer." --New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Long considered the author's strangest novel, The Confidence-Man is a comic allegory aimed at the optimism and materialism of mid-eighteenth-century America. A mysterious shape-changing Confidence-Man approaches passengers on a Mississippi steamboat and, winning over the (not quite innocent) victims with his charm, urges them to implicitly trust in the cosmos, in nature, and even in human nature-with predictable results.

The Confidence-Man represented a departure for Melville, a satirical and socially acute work that was to be a further step away from his sea novels. Yet it confused and angered reviewers who preferred to pigeonhole him as an adventure writer. Some have argued the book was a joke on the readers loyal to his sea stories, but if so, it backfired. Dismissed by critics as unreadable, and an undoubted financial failure, The Confidence-Man's cold reception undermined Melville's belief in his ability to make a living writing works that were both popular and profound, and he soon gave up fiction. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that critics rediscovered the book and praised its wit, stunningly modern technique, and wry view that life may be just a cosmic con game.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

See all Editorial Reviews
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 505 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd edition (December 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039397927X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393979275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hugh Smith on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Why read a book from 1857 which flopped so badly as commercial literature that Melville stopped writing and ended his career as a customs official? Because this book masterfully explores the entire nature of trust, confidence and cons. Though the setting is a riverboat on the Mississippi River just before the U.S. exploded into Civil War, its insights cross cultural boundaries.

This is not an easy book to read for several reasons. First, it is undoubtedly one of the first "post-modern" novels which breaks from traditional narrative storytelling. ( Another example: Dostoevsky's Notes From the Underground.) The Confidence-Man is a collection of 45 conversations between various people on the riverboat--beggars, absurdly dressed frontiersmen, sickly misers, shysters, patent medicine hucksters, veterans (of the Mexican-American War) and the "hero" in the latter part of the book, the Cosmopolitan.

In typical Melville fashion, you also get asides--directly to the reader, in several cases, as if Melville felt the need to address issues of fiction outside the actual form of his novel. The lack of structure, action and conclusion make this a post-modern type book, but if you read each conversation as a separate story, then it starts to make more sense.

For what ties the book together is not a story but a theme: the nature of trust and confidence. In a very sly way, Melville shows how a variety of cons are worked, as the absolutely distrustful are slowly but surely convinced to do exactly what they vowed not to do: buy the "herbal" patent medicine, buy shares in a bogus stock venture, or donate cash to a suspect "charity."

In other chapters, it seems like the con artist is either stopped in his tracks or is conned himself.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Connor on November 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Quite an Original
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade
I am specifically reviewing the Northwestern University Press edition of Melville's "The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade."
There is a Norton Critical Edition of this novel edited by Hershel Parker, but it doesn't seem to be offered by Amazon.com. It is offered at at W.W. Norton's website... The Hendricks House edition edited by Elizabeth Foster is another good edition, but it seems to be out of print at the moment.
On November 12, 1856 Herman Melville and Nathanial Hawthorne took a walk among the sandhills near Liverpool, England. They smoked cigars, and Hawthorne wrote about a week later that Melville spoke of Providence and futurity, and he, Melville, had pretty much made up his mind to be annilated.
"The Confidence-Man" is the last novel that Melville published during his lifetime. I agree with Newton Arvin, who called "The Confidence-Man" "one of the most infidel books ever written by an American; one of the most completely nihilistic, morally and metaphysically."
About 150 years after the book was first published, and about fifty since the book was first taken seriously by literary critics, The Confidence-Man is not a settled matter. In fact there remains excessive discord among readers and critics about the worth of this novel. Some compare it to Swift's "Tale of the Tub," others will tell you that this book is static and formless.
The idea is simple enough. On April 1 a devil in the guise of a deaf mute goes aboard a Mississippi river steamboat, and begs for charity. In rapid succession he transforms himself into a crippled Black man, a man with the weed, the man in the grey coat , the gentleman with the big book, the man with the plate and finally the Cosmopolitan.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hugh Smith on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Why read a book from 1857 which flopped so badly as commercial literature that Melville stopped writing and ended his career as a customs official? Because this book masterfully explores the entire nature of trust, confidence and cons. Though the setting is a riverboat on the Mississippi River just before the U.S. exploded into Civil War, its insights cross cultural boundaries.

This is not an easy book to read for several reasons. First, it is undoubtedly one of the first "post-modern" novels which breaks from traditional narrative storytelling. ( Another example: Dostoevsky's Notes From the Underground.) The Confidence-Man is a collection of 45 conversations between various people on the riverboat--beggars, absurdly dressed frontiersmen, sickly misers, shysters, patent medicine hucksters, veterans (of the Mexican-American War) and the "hero" in the latter part of the book, the Cosmopolitan.

In typical Melville fashion, you also get asides--directly to the reader, in several cases, as if Melville felt the need to address issues of fiction outside the actual form of his novel. The lack of structure, action and conclusion make this a post-modern type book, but if you read each conversation as a separate story, then it starts to make more sense.

For what ties the book together is not a story but a theme: the nature of trust and confidence. In a very sly way, Melville shows how a variety of cons are worked, as the absolutely distrustful are slowly but surely convinced to do exactly what they vowed not to do: buy the "herbal" patent medicine, buy shares in a bogus stock venture, or donate cash to a suspect "charity."

In other chapters, it seems like the con artist is either stopped in his tracks or is conned himself.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Norton Critical Editions)
This item: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Norton Critical Editions)
Price: $16.91
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: masquerade norton