First Edition of Melville's Piazza Tales, Containing One of His Most Famous Short Stories, Bartleby
Herman Melville. The Piazza Tales. New York:
Dix & Edwards, 1856. First edition. Octavo. [iv], , [8,
ads] pages. With flyleaves. Publisher's full purple cloth, boards
paneled in blind, with publisher's central lozenge in blind, spine
lettered and ruled in gilt, yellow endleaves. Spine sunned and
somewhat worn, gilt on spine dull, some minor wear to boards, upper
corners bumped, text with minor occasional soiling, a few pages a
bit roughly opened (not affecting text). Still, a very good copy.
"Bartleby" is the second story in this book (pages 31-107).
Like much of Melville's work, Bartleby (more commonly known as Bartleby the Scrivener: a Story of Wall Street) was little known when it was published (originally appearing in two parts in Putnam's Magazine in 1853, with Piazza Tales being its first book appearance), but now is regarded as one of the most noted works of American short fiction. It is considered a precursor to some modern themes in literature (clinical depression, free will as exercised by Bartleby, the passive-aggressive nature of the narrator); some consider it a central influence of absurdist literature.
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