Synopses & Reviews
When a New York lawyer needs to take on another copyist, it is Bartleby who responds to his advertisement, and arrives "pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn." At first a diligent employee, he soon begins to refuse work, saying only "I would prefer not to." So begins the story of Bartlebypassive to the point of absurdity yet paradoxically extremely disruptivewhich rapidly turns from farce to inexplicable tragedy. Accompanying Bartleby, Benito Cereno was first serialized in 1855, and centers around a slave rebellion on board a Spanish merchant ship in 1799.
"In our own time of terror and torture, Benito Cereno has emerged as the most salient of Melville's works: a tale of desperate men in the grip of a vengeful fury that those whom they hate cannot begin to understand." —Andrew Delbanco, author, Melville
About the Author
Most famous for his works Billy Budd and Moby Dick, Herman Melville (18181891) is a key figure in 19th-century American literature.