Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (The Art of the Novella series)

Herman Melville

Paperback

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Although most people might not realize it given his somewhat canonized status as "Great American Literature", Herman Melville is and remains one of the most radical voices in American fiction.  Bartleby is his classic story of the refusal of work under capitalism:

 

One object I had in placing Bartleby so handy to me behind the screen, was to avail myself of his services on such trivial occasions. It was on the third day, I think, of his being with me, and before any necessity had arisen for having his own writing examined, that, being much hurried to complete a small affair I had in hand, I abruptly called to Bartleby. In my haste and natural expectancy of instant compliance, I sat with my head bent over the original on my desk, and my right hand sideways, and somewhat nervously extended with the copy, so that immediately upon emerging from his retreat, Bartleby might snatch it and proceed to business without the least delay.

 

In this very attitude did I sit when I called to him, rapidly stating what it was I wanted him to do—namely, to examine a small paper with me. 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."

ISBN 9780974607801
List price $10.00
Publisher Melville House Publishing
Year of publication
Medium_zipview