Herman Melville’s tale of corporate discontent, Bartleby, the Scrivener, tells the story of a quiet, hardworking legal copyist who works in an office in the Wall Street area of New York City. The business where he works handles the official financial paperwork of wealthy men. One day, Bartleby’s employer requests he proofread one of the documents he has copied. Bartleby declines the assignment with the inscrutable “I would prefer not,” the first of what will become many refusals. 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.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Herman Melville is one of American literature’s greatest figures.” (The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Bartleby the Scrivener is short story, which explores the society and humanity on Wall Street in the late 19th century. I completely enjoyed the narrator character and the other office workers. Melville’s prose are excellent and he was able to write a parable that is at once thought provoking, tragic, and quite funny. The narration is spot on, delivering the funny lines as dead pan as they were intended to be.
Stefan Rudnicki has an almost impossibly deep voice, but he plays it like an instrument in this strange and haunting story about a lost soul. Bartleby is probably one of the most passive central characters in literature: his standard response to a request to do something is, "I would prefer not to." I can't honestly say I understand the story, but the feelings of sadness and compassion (with occasional dashes of frustration) come through in this excellent reading.
It's a quick and easy listen. I like the story more as time passes. I often find myself thinking about this story in real life situations when people fail to fulfill their obligations (as societal conventions dictate).
There's more to the truth than just the facts.
I wish there was more background on Bartleby. Perhaps a followup that would include how he became such a strange person.
Sad, sorry, sorrowful, reflective on my own life's experiences.
Stefan was an excellent choice of reader, he provided voice characterizations that were of period and were interesting.
No, too much would be lost in the story. It would not be nearly as intellectual and entertaining.
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