- Slides: 25
Bartleby the Scrivener A Story of Wall Street
Herman Melville Born 1819 and Died 1891 His father, Allan Melvill was a dry goods merchant who often borrowed money, from family and friends, either because he was sure that his investments would pay off, or because he was afraid that an economic recession was on the horizon. In 1832 his father “suddenly fell ill and died in a delirium that some thought of as madness. ” His father died massively in debt. After the death of his father, his family changes the spelling of his last name.
Herman Melville *Source: The Norton Anthology of American Literature Herman is taken out of school at the age of 12 and begins working : at a bank, in a fur-cap store, on a farm, at a country school, as a surveyor, and then, eventually, as a sailor.
Popular and Financial Successes Typee 1846 Omoo 1847 Redburn 1849 Whitejacket 1850
Critical and Financial Failures Mardi 1849 Moby Dick 1851 “writ de lunatico” Pierre 1852 “Herman Melville is Crazy”
New York 1850 s
19 th century NYC
Narrator & Bartleby Narrator never named “What my own astonished eyes saw of Bartleby, that is all I know of him, except, indeed, one vague report which will appear in the sequel. ”
Turkey, Nippers, Ginger Nut
Narrator I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.
Bartleby I can see that figure now—pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn! It was Bartleby.
“I would prefer not to”
Disarming But there was something about Bartleby that not only strangely disarmed me, but in a wonderful manner touched and disconcerted me.
Diet Ginger-nuts are so called because they contain ginger as one of their peculiar constituents, and the final flavoring one. Now what was ginger? A hot, spicy thing. Was Bartleby hot and spicy? Not at all. Ginger, then, had no effect upon Bartleby. Probably he preferred it should have none. Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance.
Why Help Bartleby? Here I can cheaply purchase a delicious selfapproval.
Trinity Church Now, one Sunday morning I happened to go to Trinity Church, to hear a celebrated preacher, and finding myself rather early on the ground, I thought I would walk around to my chambers for a while.
Disarmed, Unmanned Indeed, it was his wonderful mildness chiefly, which not only disarmed me, but unmanned me, as it were.
Most Information "At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable, " was his mildly cadaverous reply.
“Love” Mere self-interest, then, if no better motive can be enlisted, should, especially with high-tempered men, prompt all beings to charity and philanthropy.
Abandonment The man is nothing to me.
Unreasonable I would not like it at all; though, as I said before, I am not particular.
The Tombs Prison
The Tombs Yard But a soft imprisoned turf grew under foot. The heart of the eternal pyramids, it seemed, wherein, by some strange magic, through the clefts, grass-seed, dropped by birds, had sprung.
Dead Lives without dining. With kings and counselors.