3. A Guide to Melville's “Bartleby, the Scrivener”

  1. Alfred Bendixen Professor founder Executive Director2 and
  2. James Nagel Professor Rockefeller Fellow3
  1. Steven T. Ryan

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444319910.ch3

A Companion to the American Short Story

A Companion to the American Short Story

How to Cite

Ryan, S. T. (2010) A Guide to Melville's “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, in A Companion to the American Short Story (eds A. Bendixen and J. Nagel), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444319910.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Texas A&M University, USA

  2. 3

    University of Georgia, USA

Author Information

  1. American literature at Austin Peay State University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 19 FEB 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405115438

Online ISBN: 9781444319910



  • guide to Melville's “Bartleby, the Scrivener”;
  • appreciation for Melville's “Bartleby, the Scrivener - A Story of Wall-Street,” appreciation for the narrator;
  • wit of Melville - passing through narrator without the character's awareness;
  • Flaubert's later accomplishment with Félicité in “A Simple Heart”;
  • Leo Marx's first in-depth analysis of “Bartleby” - most respected and quoted essays of the story;
  • one story element, receiving attention as walls in the study of “Bartleby” - communication;
  • final consideration becoming Bartleby's refusal to copy - his reticence versus narrator's verbosity;
  • equating Melville's biography with Bartleby's fate;
  • finest critical essays written on American literature - Randall Jarrell's study of Robert Frost's “Home Burial”


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Lawyer - Narrator

  • The Wall

  • Communication

  • Bartleby

  • Conclusion: On Teaching “Bartleby”

  • References and Further Reading