TWO STORIES by the great American writer Herman Melville. "Bartleby" reflects the author's family knowledge of the business world and "Benito Cereno" draws heavily on his seafaring experiences.
Bartleby the Scrivener (1853), by Herman Melville, tells the story of a quiet, hardworking legal copyist who works in an office in the Wall Street area of New York City. One day Bartleby declines the assignment his employer gives him with the inscrutable "I would prefer not." The utterance of this remark sets off a confounding set of actions and behavior, making the unsettling character of Bartleby one of Melville's most enigmatic and unforgettable creations.
The classic tale of existential despair A Wall Street lawyer specializing in bonds and mortgages hires a respectable young man to copy legal documents by hand. At first, the new scrivener approaches his duties with a calm efficiency. Then comes the day when his response to a new assignment is, "I would prefer not to." The mysterious phrase soon becomes Bartleby's reply to everything asked of him, and his surrender to inertia is both maddening and inexorable. Torn between frustration and pity, anger and sorrow, his employer desperately tries to save Bartleby, but the cause is as doomed to disappointment as life itself. A strange and haunting fable that continues to resonate a century and a half after it was first published, Bartleby, the Scrivener is a masterpiece of American literature. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
"I prefer not to," he respectfully and slowly said, and mildly disappeared. Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world--even those daunted by Moby-Dick--Bartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City's Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville's most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, "I would prefer not to"? The tale is one of the final works of fiction published by Melville before, slipping into despair over the continuing critical dismissal of his work after Moby-Dick, he abandoned publishing fiction. The work is presented here exactly as it was originally published in Putnam's magazine--to, sadly, critical disdain. Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
Herman Melville was an 18th century American novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer. He is best known for his works Moby Dick and Typee. During his lifetime he was considered a failure, but after his death his worth as a writer was recognized. Bartleby is a novella, which first appeared in Putnam's Magazine. The narrator is an elderly lawyer who helps his clients with mortgages, titles and bonds. The lawyer's office has two employees Nippers and Turkey. Turkey is a drunk and Nippers has indigestion. The office is able to function because Nippers indigestion is at a time when Turkey is sober and Turkey is hung over when Nippers is feeling better. Bartleby is hired in the hopes that his temperament will calm down the office. As the story progresses Melville brings a sense of the human condition as seen through the eyes of a lowly employee.
"What has cast such a shadow upon you?""The Negro."With its intense mix of mystery, adventure, and a surprise ending, Benito Cereno at first seems merely a provocative example from the genre Herman Melville created with his early best-selling novels of the sea. However, most Melville scholars consider it his most sophisticated work, and many, such as novelist Ralph Ellison, have hailed it as the most piercing look at slavery in all of American literature. Based on a real life incident--the character names remain unchanged--Benito Cereno tells what happens when an American merchant ship comes upon a mysterious Spanish ship where the nearly all-black crew and their white captain are starving and yet hostile to offers of help. Melville's most focused political work, it is rife with allusions (a ship named after Santo Domingo, site of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture), analogies (does the good-hearted yet obtuse American captain refer to the American character itself?), and mirroring images that deepen our reflections on human oppression and its resultant depravities. It is, in short, a multi-layered masterpiece that rewards repeated readings, and deepens our appreciation of Melville's genius. The Art of The Novella Series Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Billy Budd, Sailor," a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself from wrongful accusations. Other selections include "Bartleby," "The Piazza," "The Encantadas," "The Bell-Tower," "Benito Cereno," "The Paradise of Bachelors," and "The Tartarus of Maids."
With an introduction by Joyce Carol OatesCollected here are the legendary American author's novella, Billy Budd, and his short stories: "The Piazza," "Bartleby, the Scrivener," "Benito Cereno," "The Lightning-Rod Man," "The Encantadas," "The Bell-Tower," and "The Town-Ho's Story" (from Melville's masterpiece, Moby-Dick).
A new, definitive edition of Herman Melville's virtuosic short stories--American classics wrought with scorching fury, grim humor, and profound beauty Though best-known for his epic masterpiece Moby-Dick, Herman Melville also left a body of short stories arguably unmatched in American fiction. In the sorrowful tragedy of Billy Budd, Sailor; the controlled rage of Benito Cereno; and the tantalizing enigma of Bartleby, the Scrivener; Melville reveals himself as a singular storyteller of tremendous range and compelling power. In these stories, Melville cuts to the heart of race, class, capitalism, and globalism in America, deftly navigating political and social issues that resonate as clearly in our time as they did in Melville's. Also including The Piazza Tales in full, this collection demonstrates why Melville stands not only among the greatest writers of the nineteenth century, but also as one of our greatest contemporaries. This Penguin Classics edition features the Reading Text of Billy Budd, Sailor, as edited from a genetic study of the manuscript by Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr., and the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry text of The Piazza Tales. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Herman Melville's final masterpiece, found unpublished on his desk at his death.Billy Budd, Sailor would emerge, after its publication in 1924, as one of Melville's best-loved books--and one of his most open, with its discussion of homosexualty. In it, Melville returns to the sea to tell the story of Billy, a cheerful, hard working, and handsome young sailor, conscripted to work against his will on another ship, where he soon finds himself persecuted by Claggart, the paranoid master-at-arms. As things escalate beyond the naive Billy's control, tragedy looms on the horizon like Melville's great white whale, and the story become Melville's final, sublime plunge into the classic tussle between civilization and chaos, between oppression and freedom, as well as the book in which he discusses homosexuality most openly. One of the major works of American literature.
"Billy Budd, Sailor" is Melville's last work and his masterpiece -- a brilliant study of the tragic clash between social authority and individual freedom, human justice and abstract good.
Hayford and Sealts's text was the first accurate version of Melville's final novel. Based on a close analysis of the manuscript, thoroughly annotated, and packaged with a history of the text and perspectives for its criticism, this edition will remain the definitive version of a profoundly suggestive story. "The texts are impeccably accurate. . . . The collection is accompanied by an unobtrusive but expert annotation. . . . Probably Melville's finest short work, the incomplete 'Billy Budd,' [is] a striking reworking of the crucifixion set in the English maritime service of the Revolutionary period."--John Sutherland, The Los Angeles Times
Stung by the critical reception and lack of commercial success of his previous two works, Moby-Dick and Pierre, Herman Melville became obsessed with the difficulties of communicating his vision to readers. His sense of isolation lies at the heart of these later works. "Billy Budd, Sailor," a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation. The other selections here-"Bartleby," "The Encantadas," "Benito Cereno," and "The Piazza"-also illuminate, in varying guises, the way fictions are created and shared with a wider society. In his introduction Frederick Busch discusses Melville's preoccupation with his "correspondence with the world," his quarrel with silence, and why fiction was, for Melville, "a matter of life and death. " [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
`Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges. ' So wrote Melville of Billy Budd, Sailor, among the greatest of his works and, in its richness and ambiguity, among the most problematic. As the critic E. L. Grant Watson writes, `In this short history of the impressment and hanging of a handsome sailor-boy are to be discovered problems as profound as those which puzzle us in the pages of the Gospels. ' Outwardly a compelling narrative of events aboard a British man-of-war during the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, Billy Budd, Sailor is a nautical recasting of the Fall, a parable of good and evil, a meditation on justice and political governance, and a searching portrait of three extraordinary men. The passion it has aroused in its readers over the years is a measure of how deeply it addresses some of the fundamental questions of experience that every age must reexamine for itself. The selection in this volume represents the best of Melville's shorter fiction, and uses the most authoritative texts. The eight shorter tales included here were composed during Melville's years as a magazine writer in the mid 1850's and establish him, along with Hawthorne and Poe, as the greatest American story writer of his age. Several of the tales - Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, The Encantadas, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids - are acknowledged masterpieces of their genres. All show Melville a master of irony, point-of-view, and tone whose fables ripple out in nearly endless circles of meaning. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Happy Failure by Herman Melville
From the author of Moby Dick: A con artist swindles his fellow passengers on a Mississippi River steamboat in this exploration of human nature. A mysterious stranger boards a steamboat bound for New Orleans on April Fools' Day. But just who is this confidence-man? At first, he is a mute, clad in cream-colored clothes and a white fur hat, boarding the steamer Fidèle in St. Louis. The man transforms when he meets a group of passengers. He assumes the identities of a crippled beggar named "Black Guinea," an agent from the Seminole Widow and Orphan Society, and the president of the Black Rapids Coal Company, among other disguises. As the ship makes its way to its final destination and the huckster's deceptions lead to thefts, everyone on board will be left wondering whom they can trust. A cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, The Confidence-Man is one of the most unconventional works by the legendary author of Moby Dick and Billy Budd, Sailor.
Poorly received when first published in 1857, The Confidence Man is now considered Herman Melville's most nearly perfect work, and one that occupies a central place in the American literary tradition of masquerade and trickery. Set on April Fool's Day aboard a Mississippi steamer, this powerful and engaging novel, through the conversations of the confidence man (who may be looked on as the Devil or God), explores America and American values. Part satire, part hoax, The Confidence Man is also a dark look at the nothingness lurking beneath our beliefs and assumptionsa look at a universe in which neither God nor the Devil exists, and where Christianity is only a comforting fiction little better than an April Fool's prank.
A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Happy Failure by Herman Melville
Best known as the creator of Captain Ahab and the great white whale of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (1819-91) found critical and popular success with his first novels, which he based on his adventures in the South Seas. His reputation was diminished by his preoccupation with metaphysical themes and allegorical techniques in later works; and by the time of his death, his books were long forgotten. Generations later, Melville's readers recognized his work as keenly satirical and rich in elements that prefigured the emergence of existentialism and Freudian psychology.Melville's critical fortunes temporarily rebounded in the early to mid-1850s, with the favorable reception of his contributions to Harper's and Putnam's--two of the era's leading monthly magazines. This collection features fourteen of his works of short fiction from that period--most prominently, "The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles." This series of descriptive sketches, a reminiscence from Melville's sailor days, reveals the ecologically pristine Galápagos Islands as both enchanting and horrifying. The other stories showcase the author's mastery of a diverse range of writing styles. "The Lightning-Rod Man" demonstrates his deftness at Dickensian comedy, and "The Piazza" anticipates his subsequent absorption with poetry. "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," with its incisive contrast of upper-class frivolity with the desperate lives of factory workers, offers a moving portrait of social inequality. These rediscovered tales by a writer who was ahead of his time provide a captivating blend of artistry and cultural commentary.
A short story from the Classic Shorts collection: The Happy Failure by Herman Melville
An adulteress, a runaway boy, a terrified soldier, and a maltreated sailor-all the heroes of these must-read novels have become part of our American literary heritage.
These four landmark novels of nineteenth-century American literature have gained a permanent place in our culture as great classics. They are not only part of our national heritage, but masterpieces of world literature whose deep and lasting influence is felt to this day. The Scarlet Letter vividly records America’s moral and historical roots in Puritan New England and masterfully re-creates a society’s preoccupation with sin, guilt, and pride. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn carries readers along on Huck’s unforgettable journey down the Mississippi in America’s foremost comic epic—the first great novel in a truly American voice. The Red Badge of Courage re-creates the brutal reality of war and its psychological impact on a young Civil War soldier in one of the most moving and widely read American novels. Billy Budd, Sailor, joins the world’s great tragic literature as a doomed seaman becomes the innocent victim of a clash between social authority and individual freedom. From the Paperback edition.
Billy Budd, Sailor and Bartleby, the Scrivener are two of the most revered shorter works of fiction in history. Here, they are collected along with 19 other stories in a beautifully redesigned collection that represents the best short work of an American master.As Warner Berthoff writes in his introduction to this volume, "It is hard to think of a major novelist or storyteller who is not also a first-rate entertainer . . . a master, according to choice, of high comedy, of one or another robust species of expressive humour, or of some special variety of the preposterous, the grotesque, the absurd. And Melville, certainly, is no exception. A kind of vigorous supervisory humour is his natural idiom as a writer, and one particular attraction of his shorter work is the fresh further display it offers of this prime element in his literary character."
"Melville at his best invariably wrote from a sort of dream self, so that events which he relates as actual fact have indeed a far deeper reference to his own soul, his own inner life." - D.H. Lawrence. Here are ten stories that represent some of the best short work of American master Herman Melville, including "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street," "The Happy Failure," and "The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids." Alongside THE HAPPY FAILURE, Harper Perennial will publish the short fiction of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, and Oscar Wilde to be packaged in a beautifully designed, boldly colorful boxset in the aim to attract contemporary fans of short fiction to these revered masters of the form. Also, in each of these selections will appear a story from one of the new collections being published in the "Summer of the Short Story." A story from Alex Burrett's forthcoming collection, MY GOAT ATE ITS OWN LEGS, will be printed at the back of this volume.
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