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Bartleby, the Scrivener

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Overview

"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short story by the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891). It first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856.
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Bartleby, the Scrivener

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Overview

"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short story by the American writer Herman Melville (1819-1891). It first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500629588
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/25/2014
  • Pages: 46
  • Sales rank: 437,471
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Melville was born Herman Melvill on August 1, 1819, in New York City, the third of eight children. When his father died around 1833, his mother added the "e" to the last name. Herman's paternal grandfather was part of the Boston Tea Party and his maternal grandfather was a hero of the Siege of Fort Schuyler.
When he was seven, Herman contracted scarlet fever, damaging his eyesight. In 1830, the family moved to Albany to go into the fur business, but he ended up declaring bankruptcy and dying shortly thereafter.
The family suffered financially, but Herman was able to attend the Albany Academy to study the classics. He sought work as a surveyor on the Erie Canal, but eventually joined the crew of a ship bound for Liverpool, England.
From 1837 to 1840, Melville became a teacher, but then decided to go to sea once again, on an eighteen month long whaling trip, giving him the inspiration for "Moby Dick."
He deserted the ship and lived among a group of cannibals, having an affair with a native girl. Then he left for Tahiti, took part in a mutiny, was jailed, spent months as a beachcomber and signed up for another six month cruise that landed him in Honolulu.
In 1847, Melville married Elizabeth Shaw, settling in Massachusetts in 1850 where he became friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne. They had four children.
After his popularity began to wane, he began to behave in a manner that made people believe that he was crazy, his wife's family urging her to leave him. In 1863, they relocated to New York City and three years later, he took a job as customs inspector, which he kept for 19 years. His writing career was over.
In 1867, Melville's oldest son accidentally shot himself while in San Francisco. Melville himself died on September 28, 1891, of a heart attack at the age of 72, while in New York City. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.
During the early 20th Century, there was a sudden resurgence in the popularity of Herman Melville's works, which had fallen from grace during his lifetime. This revival launched him and his writing back into classic status.

Biography

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      August 1, 1819
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 28, 1891
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended the Albany Academy in Albany, New York, until age 15

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    A fantastic story. A true classic from Herman Melville. Really e

    A fantastic story. A true classic from Herman Melville. Really enjoyable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2012

    To: Mr. Rowe, English 11 Herman Melville’s "Bartleby

    To: Mr. Rowe, English 11
    Herman Melville’s "Bartleby the Scrivener" mixes comedy and reality with absurdity and superfluous behavior. Bartleby, the main character, is a unique individual who has complete disconnect from reality. His oblivious behavior and style is a testament to this. He eats nothing but chestnuts and has no engagement with sleep. On the contrary, he keeps the book interesting by displaying his lack of respect toward authority. He would “prefer not to”.
    The story is based upon the theme of absurdity with reality. Bartleby was chosen by the narrator, a law firm owner, to be his assistant scrivener (law copier) because of his work ethic and reposed behavior. However, unfortunately Bartleby decides to stay content with doing nothing, literally nothing; standing in the corner of the room all day and night. It is recommended that this piece of literature be on your bucket list as a part of America’s great and iconic literary works. Melville truly captured absurdity in "Bartleby the Scrivener".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Big surprise!

    The writing is NOTHING like Moby Dick. Really an interesting short story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Recommended but not though this site

    Unfortunately, I was never able to open the book once I paid for it. This seems to be an ongoinng problem when I purchase anything through this site. I was forced to go elsewhere and purchase the book in paperback. The book itself was very good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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