(sub)Text: Dead Wall Reveries in Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener”

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” is subtitled a “Story of Wall St.,” yet there is almost nothing in it of the bustle of city life, and entirely nothing in it of the hustle of the trading floor. The story’s walls block out the streets, serving on the one hand as a container for a colorful assortment of human Xerox machines, on the other as a blank projection screen for the reveries of a man who seems to quietly rebel against the very concept of imitation. Can we continue to live and work, if we strongly prefer to do nothing that is derivative? What happens to our aspirations, if we come to fully appreciate the gravity of fate? Could we continue to tell our own stories, if we were liberated from all idiosyncrasies of character? Wes & Erin analyze. 

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This podcast is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Visit AirwaveMedia.com to listen and subscribe to other Airwave shows like Food with Former New York Times food journalist and bestselling author Mark Bittman; and Movie Therapy, in which Siskel & Ebert meets Dear Abby.

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