Saint Thomas Book Group

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Andrew Hall, Parish House

This month, we discuss Herman Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853).

Bartleby is arguably the most enigmatic short story written by this famously enigmatic author. Its narrator, a lawyer of Wall Street, hires Bartleby as a copyist, or scrivener, in his law office. Bartleby, of unknown background, begins by producing “an extraordinary quantity of writing. As if long famishing for something to copy, he seemed to gorge himself on my documents.” The honeymoon is short, however, and soon Bartleby refuses his employer’s requests, saying simply “I prefer not to.” As Bartleby’s refusals take on absurd and finally tragic dimensions, the story reaches beyond Wall Street into the human condition, until the narrator concludes, “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!” Whatever can he mean? Let’s discuss.

David Daniel

Bartleby, the Scrivener
by Herman Melville
ISBN: 978-1480255418

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