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Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  32,435 Ratings  ·  2,011 Reviews
Herman Melville was an 18th century American novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer. He is best known for his works Moby Dick and Typee. During his lifetime he was considered a failure, but after his death his worth as a writer was recognized. Bartleby is a novella, which first appeared in Putnam's Magazine. The narrator is an elderly lawyer who helps his clients ...more
ebook, 100 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published November 1853)
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Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would tell you what I think of this story, but I prefer not to.
Bill  Kerwin

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: spiritual, r-r-rs

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
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
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
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Lynne King
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
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, Herman Melville
عنوانها: نرجیح میدهم که؛ بارتلبی محرر و چند داستان دیگر؛ نویسنده: هرمان ملویل؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و سوم دسامتر سال 1979 میلادی و بار دیگر: در بیست و هفتم دسامبر سال 2015 میلادی
کتاب «ترجیح میدهم که نه» کتابی است که به کوشش «پویا رفویی» و با ترجمه «کاوه میرعباسی» در سال 1390 در نشر نیکا منتشر، و داستان «بارتلبی محرر» و سه جستار فلسفی در آن است. ژیل دلوز، فیلسوف فرانسوی در یکی از آخرین مقاله های خود، با عنوان «بارتلبی، یا یک فرم
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

Bartleby is a scrivener--essentially, a human copy machine--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 boy, identified only by their odd nicknames. Initially an industrious employee, Bartleby declines to participate in certain normal office tasks, giving no reason other than his oft-repeated mantra: "I would prefer not to." <----If you say if often and implacably enough, other people
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
Ben Winch
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, anglo, 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
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

To ask you for your preferences, I prefer not.


هنـاء آلـماضیے

"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
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norte-americanos
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
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would prefer not to write a review.
Great classic novella!!

I really enjoyed listening to one of Herman Melville's last published works today!! The narration on the 2013 Dreamscape edition is superb - with the narrator doing an excellent rendition of Bartleby's standard catch-phrase:

 photo il_fullxfull.373369879_pttz_zpsstuthvrh.jpg


The (unnamed) narrator is a "60-ish" well-to-do lawyer who specializes in titles, contracts, and more commercial types of transactions. He has a business on Wall Street which is thriving. He hires Bartleby as a scrivener (copyist) in order to
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Bartleby the Scrivener By Bill Bragg

"نظيفا بشكل شاحب، مهذبا بشكل يرثى له، وبائسا على نحو يتعذر شفاؤه! كان ذلك بارتلبي"

قصة صغيرة غريبة عن بارتلبي، المتوحد الصامت غريب الأطوار الساكن الممتنع عن الفعل أبدا بقوله المهذب "أفضل ألا..."، متأملا الجدار طوال الوقت عوضا عن أي شيء آخر، يرويها لنا مديره ذو القلب الكبير، الذي أربكته سذاجته فحار في أمره... فيجعلك محتارا معه، فلا تدري أيستحق أن يضرب هذا البارتلبي لشدة ما يغيظ، أم يشفق عليه ويرحمه... تلك الطيبة المستفزة التي تشل الغضب الذي تثيره... يغضب أو لا ي
فهد الفهد
بارتلبي النساخ

لم اقرأ (موبي ديك) بعد، فلأعترف بهذا من البداية، هذا اعتراف أجرجره معي في كل مكان، قليلة هي العناوين التي أشعر حولها بهذا الشعور الغريب، الخزي ربما!! قد تبدو مفردة الخزي ثقيلة، ولكن هذا هو الشعور الذي تخلفه الكتب العظيمة لدى القارئ النهم، لهذا يصنع لنفسه قوائم عار يرغب في قراءتها ليرتاح باله ويستطيع الانصراف إلى قراءاته الأخرى، ولكنه ويا للأسف يكتشف أن قوائم العار طويلة وتلتهم سنوات من العمر قبل أن تتبدد.

بارتلبي النساخ – تاركين قوائم العار لأيام قادمة – شخصية غريبة في عمل رائع، م
Ah Bartleby!

This is one of the best short stories I have ever read. Truly deep, dark and amusing. Melville's prose is truly captivating.

I would prefer not to write a complete review.

5 stars on 5!

TAM •'

البارتلبي الصغير الذي في داخلي، مُتعب من كل شيء ويُفضّل ألا يفعل شيء على الإطلاق. ولكن أنا -المسيطرة على كل الشخوص الصغيرة- يبدو أنني متحكمّة بما في الكفاية لأفعل الكثير من الأمور.

بارتلبي النسّاخ – لو قرر كل منّا أن يمنح هذا الرجل لقب، أنا شخصياً سأسميه مؤسس عالم "أفضّل ألا"، مثل ما صنع أشخاص عوالم من الضحك والعلوم وغيرها، هذا الإنسان بنفسه ولنفسه صنع عالم من التفضيلات، معظمها -في الحقيقة كلها- كانت من صنف "أفضّل ألا أفعل" .

راوي القصة ليس بارتلبي نفسه وإنما رئيس بارتلبي في العمل -لم يذكر اس
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bu kitap güzel ve detaylı bir incelemeyi hak ediyor ama "yapmamayı tercih ederim" :))
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad to plug this tiny gaping hole in my reading dike. Two thirds of it I read aloud to the wife and cat as one drew and the other slept, the TV on mute showing NFL divisional playoff action. The convolutions of the syntax struck me while reading aloud, backflipping cartwheeling old-timey tuxedo inversions that usually but not always landed as though Herman had hammered down each sentence with a nail. Every utterance revolved becoming spirals of articulation commencing time again with Bartleby o ...more
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Essay Prompt 2 43 Mar 30, 2015 02:47PM  
what does bartleby means to you? 11 188 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
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 during his lifetime, and most responsible for ...more
More about Herman Melville...
“I would prefer not to.” 299 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.” 39 likes
More quotes…