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Bartleby, the Scrivener  By  cover art

Bartleby, the Scrivener

By: Herman Melville
Narrated by: B.J. Harrison
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Publisher's summary

The life of a scrivener can be a dull one. After all, your entire occupation has to do with the handwritten copying of law documents. But when Bartleby arrives, he turns the office upside down with the enigmatic phrase: “I prefer not to.”

Public Domain (P)2008 B.J. Harrison

What listeners say about Bartleby, the Scrivener

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

"I would prefer not to REVIEW"

This novella seems to anticipate both Kafka and reflect Dostoevsky. I would say more but I prefer not to.

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20 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Listen to this version

The narrator is very good, and the other versions are far too pricey for a tale of this length.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Haunting...

The first chapter was a bit detailed and slow (which seems about right, given the period this book was written) and then the story became so strangely amusing and Kafka-esque. But Melville wraps the story up in a beautifully haunting way that I will not soon forget. I'm so glad I listened to this novella. The narrator was pitch perfect and the story will stay with me for a long time.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I loved Bartleby

This is another one of those books that you think “I’ll get round to this one day”. I never did so decided to listen instead. I am glad I did.

NARRATOR – The narrator does a very good job with this book. He has the voice for a Dickensian novel. His voice is commanding and his accent frightfully English. His voice differentiation is great so there is no confusion. His accents are appropriate which can sometimes be a trap with this period. His inflections keep the story moving along without being overly dramatic, but maintain the drama nonetheless. I enjoyed the rendition very much indeed.

STORY – This story is a classic for a reason. Sometimes a character out of a book will stick with you, Bartleby has certainly done that. The author has drawn him and his compatriots so well you can almost see and smell them, and thanks to the great narration you can hear them.

I would recommend this book unreservedly to anyone that loves great characters in their storytelling.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of Melville’s Greatest Stories

From the theater of the absurd, comes a strange tragi-comical story wonderfully dramatized. Many believe it is the first story of a form of autism that was not diagnosed until much later. Wikipedia has this possible explanation: “Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.[1] As a milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it differs from other ASDs by relatively normal language and intelligence.[4] Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language are common.[5][6] Signs usually begin before two years old and typically last for a person's entire life.[1]” Truly a great story and a must listen!

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The reading perfectly suited this unique and beguiling story.

I'd prefer not to write anything about what I liked or disliked regarding Melville's narrative currently.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D
  • 04-25-23

best short story ever written

This is the funniest book I have ever listened to in my whole life the original office ha ha Great for car rides and night caps wow the narrators inflection and cast voices are top notch one of my favorite interpretations of this sacred audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A funny, sad, and powerful tale of humanity in the modern workplace

I feel a sense of connection to this short, touching, and at times hilarious tragedy of life (and the frequent lack thereof) in the society of the backroom of a professional office. I appreciate the story so much, I own two different Audible versions! Probably similar to others who, like me, have found themselves in such places,
I identify with, at times, not only with the well-intentioned yet exasperated narrator, but also with the self-alienated Bartley and even the hopelessly comic fellow clerks. I think it’s what a 19th century an episode of “The Office” might have looked like.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Superhuman

Bartleby is a heroic figure because he avoids drawing attention to himself whilst advancing his daunting plan (no spoiler).

He is without need for social validation or support, and so appears superhuman.

Given the social environment described, his plan is rational and his execution flawless.

Was he unable to think of another way of life, or did he put such little value on life itself that he did not deign to devise a different way of life? I prefer to think the latter, and see Bartleby as superhuman.

The narrator is first rate.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

perhaps a classic...

I enjoyed the narrator, but while this may be a beloved classic I struggled to finish. I sped up the reading by 50% or I could not have.

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