We started this series with the intention to bring you what we call “the gems” of literature. It is a very subjective selection, of course, but we strive to bring you the best! The title we give you today is, as far as we know, a perfect example.
You all know Herman Melville for his world-famous, strongly courted by movies, white whale and the adventures of captain Ahab. Yes, that is Moby Dick. Kids & Hollywood see it as an adventure-packed sea story. Existentialists see it as a search for one’s purpose and the final confrontation with life. Ecologists, well, you can figure this one out by yourself… But there is another side to Melville’s writings, and this is the one that placed Melville in history as a forerunner of the absurdist literature (Kafka even named him explicitly as a main inspiration for his writings). This special writing is Bartleby, The Scrivener with the subtitle A Story of Wall-Street. It has actually nothing to do with Wall-Street (not the one we have today). It is the strange case of a scrivener that one day started to refuse any task he was given by simply and stubbornly stating that he “prefers not to”.
It is an amazing story and we prefer not to tell you more about it.
When the nameless narrator an elderly Manhattan attorney hired another scrivener named Bartleby, he hoped the new employee would have a positive effect on scriveners Nippers and Turkey. However, Bartleby's curious tendencies and obstinate attitude plagued and confounded the narrator. Lackey turns in a workmanlike performance in this audio edition of Melville's famous story. His emphasis and delivery will keep listeners engaged, and he lends distinctive voices to the characters. His rendering of Bartlebly's famous repeated line, "I would prefer not to," captures the matter-of-fact delivery emphasized in the text. However, Lackey's voice sounds a bit too young for story's narrator. Still, this is an enjoyable take on the classic tale.