Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bartleby the Scrivener” as Want to Read:
Bartleby the Scrivener
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Bartleby the Scrivener

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  37,336 ratings  ·  2,496 reviews
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 commer ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Melville House (first published December 1853)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-lit
I would tell you what I think of this story, but I prefer not to.
Bill  Kerwin
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing

What a pleasure it is to return to a work of genius and find it inexhaustible! What a host of insights, what a web of subtleties, are contained within this short account of the breakdown of one man in a five man office!

I think of Melville the sailor, accustomed to wide sea vistas and many sea duties, recoiling at the confined, reduced lives of New York City office workers. I think of Melville the innovative writer, his popularity—and income—waning as his daring increased, contemplating the act o
Riku Sayuj
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-r-rs, spiritual

Ah, Bartleby. Ah, Humanity.

At first, as I tried to contain my surprise that Melville, who awed me in Moby Dick, was now writing with such humour and lightness, I felt that Bartleby was a Heroic figure, someone to be admired and emulated - and a welcome break from the complicated characters of the doomed ship.

On second thought, with a slight sinking feeling, I felt he might be a Romantic figure, someone to be eulogized and applauded.

Then, still upbeat about the simplicity of the novella, I was su
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, Herman Melville
"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short story by the American writer Herman Melville, first serialized anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 issues of Putnam's Magazine, and reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856. In the story, a Wall Street lawyer hires a new clerk who, after an initial bout of hard work, refuses to make copy or do any other task required
Mohammed  Ali
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أفضل ألا أكتب أي شيء عن هذه القصة القصيرة، و لكن في نفس الوقت و بنفس درجة الإلحاح في عدم الكتابة أفضل أن أكتب أي شيء، شعور متناقض أليس كذلك ؟ .

" كيف هذا ؟ قال ممون الطعام مخاطبا إياي و هو يحدق بذهول في : إنه غريب أليس كذلك ؟ "

- نعم أوافقك الرأي تماما : إنه غريب

" لو كان ثمة أي شيء بشري بصورة عادية فيه لكنت طردته من المبنى حالا "

- نعم أوافقك الرأي تماما : هو ليس بشرا مثلنا .

" كشبح مجرد ظهر بعد النداء الثالث عند مدخل صومعته على نحو غريب ينسجم مع قوانين التعاويذ السحرية "

- نعم أوافقك الرأي تماما
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I could ask you to look beyond your desk if you are at work or peep down your balcony if you are at home and spot a Bartleby.
But I would prefer not to.
I could urge you to frame that calamitous Bartleby whose 'selective' inveterate muteness is either enhancing your tolerance reserves or sharpening your fighting skills.
But I would prefer not to.
I could exhort you to unsuccessfully debase this Bartleby’s assiduity in light of his proven peculiarity.
But I would prefer not to.
I could ask
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, Herman Melville
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a short story by the American writer Herman Melville, first serialized anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 issues of Putnam's Magazine, and reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856. In the story, The narrator, an elderly, unnamed Manhattan lawyer with a comfortable business, already employs two scriveners, Nippers and Turkey, to
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!”

Reading the closing lines of this novella, one part of my self immediately exclaims:

“That was unexpected, brilliant, absolutely perfect, let’s write a review!”

Another part of me, confused, stubborn, rebellious, rejoins:

“I prefer not to!”

My social self, eager to share my reading experience, and to act according to the established patterns and traditions I have set up for my literary projects, cannot understand that attitude, as it doesn’t make any sense.

“But WHY?”

“I pr
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tulsa Doom: Bartleby the Scrivener, contemplate this on the tree of woe.

Bartleby the Scrivener: I would prefer not to.

Monica Bellucci: Bartleby, come to me!

Bartleby the Scrivener: Um ...

Melville as a pre-existentialist, good read, and funny, also a precursor to absurdist theater, it reads like a long joke, I was left waiting for the punch line

Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite short story of all time! "I prefer not to" is the best answer ever.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This classic 1853 Herman Melville novella is absurd and bleak, darkly humorous and heartwrenching at the same time. It's the first time I've read it since a college English course, when I didn’t much care for it. I appreciated it much more this time around.


Bartleby is a scrivener - essentially, a human copy machine, back in the pre-Xerox days - working for a Manhattan-based lawyer who is the narrator of the tale. His co-workers: two other irritable scriveners of dubious temperament, and a office
Raya راية
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"لكنه يبدو وحيدًا، وحيدًا تمامًا في الكون، قطعة من حُطام سفينة في عُرض الأطلنطي."

سمعت بهذه القصة لأول مرة من خلال هذا الموقع، فرأيت الكثير من القرّاء يراجعونها وبدوا متأثرين بها كثيرًا، وقد بقيت عالقة في ذهني لفترة من الوقت، وقبل عدة أيام، حين كنت أقوم بتحرير لترجمة كتاب
Everybody lies
قرأت بأن بعض خيول السباق قد تُصاب خلال حياتها بما يُعرف بـ "متلازمة بارتلبي" والتي تتوّقف فجأة بلا سابق إنذار عن الجري! وهذا ما دعاني جديًّا لقراءة "بارتلبي النسّاخ" لهرمان ملفل.

من هو بارتلبي هذا؟ ولماذا يبدو با
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Florencia by: Dolors
Shelves: favorites
...happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none. (15)

I see a blurred silhouette. There is a person sitting at table. He is writing. He doesn't look up. Nobody could have ever seen his face. It's been hours and he doesn't get up. A man, a chair, a table and a million papers. The spitting image of desolation. Does he have any life outside that place? Probably not.
I hope he does.

I read about this particular theme concerning
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Repetí la orden con la mayor claridad posible; pero con claridad se repitió la respuesta.
-Preferiría no hacerlo.
-Preferiría no hacerlo -repetí como un eco, poniéndome de pie, excitadísimo y cruzando el cuarto a grandes pasos-. ¿Qué quiere decir con eso? Está loco. Necesito que me ayude a confrontar esta página; tómela -y se la alcancé.
-Preferiría no hacerlo -dijo.”

Detrás de la grandilocuencia epopéyica que resultó tardíamente para la literatura la obra magna de Herman Melville y que se llamó Mo
Lynne King
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story about a scrivener! I haven't read such an excellent novella as this in a long time.

Set in the 1850's and narrated by a lawyer in New York, this tale breathes and glows like a star and yet death is lurking in the background throughout. The lawyer has known many scriveners but not one such as this particular individual who continues to fascinate him so much. Nuances about the bible with Adam and Eve, etc. give such a sense of place and spirit to this work that I can only desc
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Leí este cuento hace mucho mucho tiempo. No lo entendí y me gustó, quizás porque el no entender algo implica buscarle un sinfín de posibilidades sin decidirnos por ninguna pero sin rechazar ninguna tampoco. Así, sin quererlo, envolvemos el relato en un halo de misterio y, de paso, le dotamos de una especial relevancia. Y he pensado si no será esto mismo lo que le ocurre al abogado sin nombre con Bartleby.

He pensado que el relato se nos escapa, que el relato se nos resiste, con una resistencia pa
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

I can see that figure now -- pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn! It was Bartleby.

One more on my reading list that comes from a Goodreads tip. Thanks again, folks! I've read it in an hour or so, but I believe it will stay with me for a lot longer.
I had to check twice the year this novella was first published : 1853!!! I couldn't wrap my mind around how modern and fresh and relevant the story of Bartleby, the human xerox machine, still is. Decades before Franz Kafka or Eugene
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a public seminar on Herman Melville’s short story, Bartleby, the Scrivener, given by Paul Auster and Nobel Laureate, JM Coetzee, hosted by the NYS Writer’s Institute. Because I am a huge nerd, I sat in the very front of the venue space (the first two rows of the theater were reserved for Writer’s Institute people), so I was in the third row. But Auster and Coetzee sat directly in front of me before the seminar started!! Swoon! I’ve never felt “st ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lett-americana

Questo è un racconto misterioso, lo si legge pervasi da un sottile disagio e non lo si dimentica più. Giunti alla fine cerchiamo di tirare le fila della vicenda, ma non ne veniamo a capo in modo soddisfacente, convincente; i fatti non quadrano, qualcosa non torna. E’ come cercare di montare un mobile senza il libretto di istruzioni (ma credo che la cosa non migliorerebbe anche in presenza di istruzioni): c’è sempre qualcosa che non si incastra alla perfezione, un tassello che manca,
Sidharth Vardhan
"He was more a man of preferences than assumptions."

You know I often buy food from a local dhabha ( North Indian native restaurants). The waiters and cooks there work 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week before going to bed in a room within restaurants.Their whole life involves for months involves waking up at 6, cleaning the place, cooking, serving all day. Their social life for months is limited to the fellow workers. Many of them start working when they aren't even in teens. Literally no jo

"نظيفاً بشكل شاحب، مهذباً بشكل يُرثى له، وبائساً على نحوٍ يتعذَّر شفاؤه!."

طرق ذلك الشاب "الغريب" باب الوظيفة الجديدة، ليظهر استعداده التام على القيام بأعباءها .. لم يدرك المحامي العجوز أنه لم يفتح الباب لموظف جديد .. بل لقصة جديدة سوف تسرقه من نفسه معظم الوقت.

بــــــارتلــبــــــــي !

تقرأ قصته بكثير من التعاطف، وتشعر في قرارة نفسك أن هذا الكائن عانى ما يفوق التعبير، ما يغير المزاج والطباع، ما يعيد صياغة النفس على صورة لا مفهومة.

في عالمٍ آخر تسكن روح بارتلبي، تعيش بعيداً عن المساس، والصوت، والصور
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing


To ask you for your preferences, I prefer not.

Ben Winch
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anglo, american, 5-stars
Wow, that was beautiful! How have I never read this before? It's as good as Kafka - as now as Kafka. This man, this Bartleby, is as basic a character as could realistically exist, yet as human. I defy you not to love him, though he barely does more than stand and stare and politely refuse to act. But I defy you not to empathise with the narrator too. This is about as pertinent as fiction gets. Bartleby is Oblomov, the Hunger Artist, Hamsun's stand-in in Hunger and Beckett's in everything from El ...more
mai ahmd
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات

أفضل أن أبقى ساكنا

هذا نوع من الأدب الذي أحبه العبثية تحديدا مع جرعة لذيذة من الدعابة لا أدري لم لم أسمع عن الكتاب قبل ذلك حقيقة لا أظن إنه يقل مستوى عن غريب كامو وهو
قريب من مسرح اللامعقول بشخصياته الغريبة الأطوار ..

من هو بارتلبي إنه نساخ ذا سلوك غريب ينضم لمكتب محاماة من أجل نسخ الوثائق القانونية .. الراوي هو رئيسه في العمل
يجلس بارتلبي في زاوية ويباشر النسخ لكنه يرفض
أن يؤدي أي عمل آخر وفي أول بادرة لتلقي الأوامر والإستجابة لها نجد بارتلبي صاحب الوجه الشاحب والمثير للقلق يقول : أُفضّل أل
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Bartleby, que data de 1856, antecipa Franz Kafka. O seu desconcertante protagonista é um homem obscuro que se recusa tenazmente à ação. O autor não explica, mas a nossa imaginação aceita-o imediatamente e com muita pena. Na realidade são dois os protagonistas: o obstinado Bartleby e o narrador que se resigna à sua obstinação e acaba por lhe ganhar afeição." JL Borges (Biblioteca Pessoal)

Não há muito a dizer acerca da história de Bartleby, conhecemos apenas um rumor, um "diz que". O que nos é a
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Agnieszka by: Florencia

Bartleby. Bartleby the scrivener. Poor, inconspicuous man. Came from nowhere and disappeared in nothingness leaving us with his canonical already phrase I would prefer not to .

Deceptively little reading. But don’t be deceived by appearances. It starts in truly Dickensian style. The old office where one could easily imagine the lawyers in famous Jardynce & Jardynce case and the copyists are more caricatures than real people. But Bartleby ? At first is working as mad by days and nights, dilig
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

آه يا بارتلبي ! آه أيتها الإنسانية !

تقول بثينة العيسي في اقتباس ما أعجبني ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
أما عن هذه الرواية ...
فسيراودك إحساس لا يقاوم في رغبتك في ان تصرخ في وجه هذا العالم بعد قرائتك لها ..
سيراودك إحساس فظيع بأنك تريد أن تزيح هذه الإنسانية المزيفة من الوجود ،
أن تزيلها بكم معطفك ..
أن تُمحيها كما تُمحي شوائب نظاراتك ..
أن تصحو يوما ما ولا تجدها تحتل بابتسامتها الصفراء وقناعها المزيف غرفتك ..!
كيف يمكننا أن نتخلص منها ؟
كيف يمكننا أن نتخلص من صراخنا الصامت بداخلنا ويأسنا الذي تعدي حدود اليأس ؟
أري بارتلبي هنا
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Primeiro pensei que fosse estrangeiro e não entendesse a língua...
Ou que fosse surdo...
Ou só teimoso...
Ou só parvo...
Ou então muito esperto...
Depois apeteceu-me aplicar-lhe um pontapé no traseiro e pô-lo dali para fora...
De seguida, fazer-lhe festas e levá-lo para casa, como a um cachorro abandonado...
E perdi a paciência e quis gritar com ele...
E quis levá-lo para casa e dar-lhe mimos...
Ou um par de estalos...
E deu-me vontade de chorar por ele...
E continuei a querer levá-lo para casa
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-fiction
Book Review
I remember disliking it because it was all about this guy that slept in an office and his boss came in and he never did any work or something. These are just my first thoughts about the story. Time to read it again. Yes, I did read this. But this time, I think I got more out of it. It’s about choices and what someone will do and won’t do. It’s also about the walls of Wall Street. Basically it’s all about being an individual versus being part of a society. It was suggested at the
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Bartleby the Scrivener, by Herman Melville 1 8 Sep 29, 2018 07:04PM  
Essay Prompt 2 47 Mar 30, 2015 02:47PM  
what does bartleby means to you? 11 209 Dec 02, 2014 01:16PM  
  • The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
  • The Lesson of the Master
  • May Day
  • The Dead
  • Young Goodman Brown
  • El duelo
  • Sonny's Blues
  • The Duel
  • Selected Essays
  • My Life
  • A Simple Heart
  • The Open Boat
  • The Squabble
  • Bartleby & Co.
  • The Lemoine Affair
  • The Duel
  • The Dialogue of the Dogs
  • A&P: Lust in the Aisles
There is more than one author with this name

Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure d
“I would prefer not to.” 336 likes
“Ah, happiness courts the light so we deem the world is gay. But misery hides aloof so we deem that misery there is none.” 45 likes
More quotes…