#52- Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”

“I would prefer not to.” In their simplicity and politeness, these five words illustrate a story of passive resistance that will both move you and leave you searching for answers. You may have even uttered the line yourself at work.

“Bartleby, the Scrivener, A Story of Wall-Street,” was published in Putnam’s magazine in November and December 1853 by Herman Melville. It is centered around the dehumanization of Bartleby the scrivener, the nineteenth-century equivalent of a photocopy machine.

Sound intriguing? If you’ve ever read Moby Dick, you’ll know the more profound Melville gets, the more elusive the solutions he arrives at.

Tune in to this week’s episode for a fascinating discussion on this eerily aching short story and one of the most enigmatic sentences in American literature.

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