- Series: The Art of the Novella
- Paperback: 100 pages
- Publisher: Melville House; 58087th edition (May 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0974607800
- ISBN-13: 978-0974607801
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (The Art of the Novella series) Paperback – May 1, 2004
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"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer
"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
—The New Yorker
"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)
"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
—The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819. At eighteen he set sail on a whaler, and upon his return, wrote a series of bestselling adventure novels based on his travels, including Typee and Omoo, which made him famous. Starting with Moby-Dick in 1851, however, his increasingly complex and challenging work drew more and more negative criticism, until 1857 when, after his collection Piazza Tales (which included Bartleby the Scrivener), and the novel The Confidence Man, Melville stopped publishing fiction. He drifted into obscurity, writing poetry and working for the Customs House in New York City, until his death in 1891.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Bartleby the Scrivener" is a very accessible short novella by the author of "Moby Dick." It tells the story of a strange young man named Bartleby who shows up one morning at a New York law firm and is employed as a copyist (scrivener.) In those days (mid-nineteenth century), legal work was horrendously tedious for the clerks since huge briefs and depositions had to be copied by hand by men who did nothing all day but write a clear hand (and try not to leave ink blots on the paper,) and then check their work by reading it aloud back to each other.
This is one of my favorite novellas (really a long short story). Wittily narrated by the harassed lawyer who owns the law firm, it describes the characters of those copyists who are employed there, and tells of the strange Bartleby who just decides to stop doing any work one day, telling his exasperated employer that he "prefers not to."
The story is a wonderful mixture of high comedy, pathos and fascinating commentary on the human condition. I re-read it at least once a year, and I always enjoy it and get something fresh from Melville's wise insights and his wonderful wit.