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Canonical texts and context: the example of Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street."

Recent interest in expanding the canon has resulted in recovering "other" writers who often differ significantly from "classic" authors in terms of race, class, ethnicity, and gender.(1) Because these "other" texts resonate literary, cultural, and ideological perspectives largely absent from canonical works, revisionists have employed new analytical methods that involve historical and cultural contextualization. Indeed, contextual analysis provides needed insights into the nature of literary writing by recovering the relations between writer and culture.

This critical shift departs markedly from standard critical treatments of "classic" texts whose "timeless themes," it is argued, do not require such new historicist or deconstructionist decoding.(2) This assumption, however, severely limits pedagogical approaches to teaching "classic" writers. Canon study does not necessarily imply canon reverence. Herman Melville's 1853 tale, "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," which is found in virtually every college curriculum, nonetheless appears to be one of the "classic" works least appreciated by undergraduate students. Indeed one of the greatest challenges in teaching Melville's tale is to convince students of the artistic genius that seems so obvious to many professors yet eludes these first-time readers of a story they consider puzzling, at best. Shared aesthetic values, or, in the words of Paul Lauter, "congeneric lives" (104) fostered by graduate school training, together with professional reverence for the canon, often uncritically cement appreciation for Melville's artistry in, among other works, "Bartleby, the Scrivener." Yet the act of lifting "Bartleby" from its cultural context and focusing upon textual/formal analysis -- a practice all too standard in literature classrooms -- limits readers' access to the particular form of narrative structure and to the stylistic innovations that contribute to Melville's artistry in his most remarkable of tales.

Melville presents two stories in "Bartleby, the Scrivener." The author's original title in Putnam's Monthly highlights the multi-textual layers of the tale.(3) "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street" relates the narration of the story of Bartleby to the story of the narrator's Wall Street. Indeed, shortening the title of Melville's multilayered tale to "Bartleby" or even "Bartleby, the Scrivener" -- a common practice among modern editors -- unnecessarily restricts the hermeneutic possibilities that the author suggests in his double title. Without the original publishing context, students miss this important clue to the bivalency of the tale.

Placing "Bartleby, the Scrivener" in its socio-literary context, however, provides pedagogical tools that may be employed to examine more effectively -- and more convincingly for students -- the particular narrative voice, characterization, motifs, and narrative structure that mark the tale. Contextual analysis provides startling insights into the role that literary economics, marketplace realities, and subversive rhetoric played in the shaping of Melville's story. By examining with students the actual forms, styles, and literary conventions most active in antebellum culture that Melville's "Bartleby" engages and debates, we can more clearly discuss the nature of creativity. And by retrieving the contexts in which Melville's short fiction, and "Bartleby" in particular, assume meaning, we rescue Melville from his "classic" status, a veritable death sentence in the minds of many college students, and recast him instead as a vibrant popular antebellum writer in tune with prevailing attitudes and literary tastes of his day. Such new recoveries of a "classic" work go far in satisfying the student cry for interpretive proofs, and -- most importantly -- they provide students with the tools necessary to discover for themselves the artistry that we assure them lurks beneath the surface in Melville's celebrated "lower layers."


When Melville turned to magazine writing in 1853, he participated in the two distinct literary environments of Harper's Magazine and Putnam's Monthly. While both magazines received some of Melville's most sophisticated formulations of political, social, and aesthetic themes, significantly his short fiction also displays the clearest deference to the stylistic conventions that distinguished these monthlies. Some of the author's best shorter works, including the stories collected in The Piazza Tales (1855), were initially written for and published in Putnam's. "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," the first story that Melville submitted to Putnam's, demonstrates his use of the heterogeneous narrative style available within the literary environment of the magazine.

The deliberateness of Melville's practices and his keen awareness of the contrasting magazine styles become clear in the type of fiction that he writes for Putnam's. The monthly started in 1853 as a critical commentary upon the times and as a direct contrast to the political conservatism and the sentimental rhetoric of Harper's Magazine. Rigorously analytical, it appealed to a more intellectual, politically liberal, and thus smaller audience that ranged from 2,000-20,000 subscribers. (Harper's had 100,000 readers.) The editors promised to collect "the results of the acutest observations, and the most trenchant thought, illustrated by whatever wealth of erudition, of imagination, and of experience" that American writers possess ("Editorial Note," Jan. 1853). By emphasizing the "trenchant thought" and "erudition," rather than just the popularity of their writers, the editors conveyed their high literary and political aspirations.

Putnam's treated social, political, and literary themes from a perspective markedly different from the non-partisan, non-analytical stance of its competitor. A concern for social issues marked Putnam's fiction. Since the editors attempted to uncover "characteristic life in the cities," fiction extended to the work place, business, and into the home (Jan. 1853: 2). Passages such as the following portrayed the despair of the industrial worker:

I knew that men had been hard at work since sunrise -- since daybreak -- toiling heavily at labor that should not end until their lives ended; confined in close and noisome places, in which the day was never very bright, and their hopes grew daily darker. (Curtis 18)

Indeed, many stories discussed the plight of employees, a subject that Melville made famous in "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street."(4)

Perhaps the most significant difference -- and one that distinguishes Melville's Harper's and Putnam's fiction -- lay in the editors' attitudes toward the popular rhetoric of sentiment -- a mode of writing, according to the editors, that tried to assuage and to cover more than it directly challenged and uncovered. Not restricted to the domestic sphere, Harper's fiction dealt with social and even with political issues. Inequities in the workplace, home, and society form a backdrop to the Harper's stories of the decade. Yet writers do not focus upon the social problems they raise. Stressing the emotions over analysis, sentimental fiction in Harper's refigured suffering, abuse, poverty, and exploitation into romantic portraits of pathos and beauty by disengaging characters from their environments. Rather than grapple directly with timely issues, the fiction of Harper's employs them as thematic material that attempts to demonstrate that "difficulties are the tutors and monitors of men placed in their path for their best discipline and development" (Jan. 1852: 212). Harper's stories emphasize the abilities of characters to find contentment through the hardships they encounter by transforming social problems as literary issues into a celebration of the moralistic principles of toleration, acquiescence, and impoverished nobility.

Writers for the magazine typically separate their tellers from the telling. Harper's sentimental fiction contains aloof bystanders, traditional spectator-narrators from the ranks of the upper classes. Their privileged status allows them to observe lower, less fortunate characters from above on the ladder of success. Though they allude to, and even vividly portray, the misery of poverty and alienation, these narrators extricate themselves from the inevitable conclusions of their stories. Characteristically in this type of fiction, narrators do not explicitly express opinions regarding misspent lives, nor do they offer solutions. Rather, they resort to a sentimental response, usually culminating in a conventional final exclamation, as in "The Chateau Regnier": "May he die in peace!" (Harper's, June 1853: 221-38). Such endings indirectly celebrate the good will of the narrator at the expense of the unresolved social problems that the stories raise. Through this style, writers use societal issues as a foil to dramatize the hegemonic values of individuality and success. They focus upon and celebrate the individual -- the successful narrator. This abstract representation of society coupled with emphasis upon the emotions and values of the narrator enabled writers to support Harper's commitment to upper-middle-class ideology.

By way of contrast, Putnam's editors rejected sentimental rhetoric as a tool for representing the times (Putnam's, Feb. 1854: 223). The sentimental style of Harper's fiction, they argued, severs the link between social problems and the teller's emotional response to them. By glossing over reality, Harper's writers highlighted abstracted sentiment through painting "only the gentle, the grieving, the beautiful." The antisentimental stance implies a dissatisfaction with the consistently "clear, true, and transparent" prose of sentimental writing and endorses a deliberately ambiguous, multilayered text (Feb. 1853: 77). Richly symbolic language and a heterogenous style -- not restricted to a personal strategy of Melville -- represented the trademark of Putnam's.

Melville carefully considered this stylistic approach and orientation when writing for the monthly. By viewing "Bartleby, the Scrivener" within the context of Putnam's practices, the modern reader gains insight into the structural and stylistic complexities that the author used to shape his reader's response to the story's central characters. This contextual recovery of the tale's interpretive conventions reestablishes the fundamental relation between the narrative style and narrative method of the narrator.

But this analytical approach can be appreciated most by students when they participate directly in the contextual analysis. Providing students with their own Harper's and Putnam's packets that include both editorial policies and representative tales supplies students with the tools necessary to trace the author's appropriations and to determine his innovations. This firsthand study of primary materials encourages students to discover for themselves the craft and the artistry of literary writing.


The common stance of Putnam's writers against sentimental rhetoric goes far in accounting for the strategies that Melville employed in "Bartleby, the Scrivener," one of his most stylistically challenging stories. In this tale, the author employs a sentimental style as a methodological weapon against itself and, in doing so, reinforces Putnam's editorial stance. Partially sentimental, this story portrays the devastating effects of Wall Street upon those "pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn" individuals like Bartleby, and yet the overall manner is more in keeping with the "mixed form" of Putnam's than with the sentimentalism of Harper's (Melville 19). Through his depiction of the methods of social involvement and retreat adopted by individuals in the work place, Melville links his tale to the editorial concern of Putnam's for analyses of the world of work. And yet the author goes further. He conflates the magazine's concern for the effects of industrialization upon the individual worker with the magazine's -- and his own -- arguments for a narrative style that links, rather than separates (as in Harper's sentimental fiction) the teller and the telling. In other words, Melville depicts the need for a narrative style that can adequately provide room for oppositional, minority, and alternative voices and share equal textual space with the authoritative -- and sometimes oppressive -- views of Harper's conventional narrators.

Contextualizing Melville's stylistic strategies in "Bartleby, the Scrivener" provides a deeper understanding of the powerful -- if ambiguous -- relationship between the narrator and Bartleby. Indeed, this stylistic context is central to unraveling the interpolated stories that are represented by the paradigms of employer/employee and narrator/subject that Melville skillfully creates in this work.

The narrator's relation in his double role as lawyer and as narrator to both his literal and his narrative subject, Bartleby, portrays a double story: the tale of the lawyer's involvement with his employee Bartleby and the tale of the narrator's relation to his subject. Through this paradigm, Melville cleverly employs magazine concerns about Wall Street's exploitation of the individual worker as a means to examine critically the exploitation of writers by larger periodical marketplace demands for a sentimental style. In this respect, Melville's examination of class relations extends into and includes the classes of author-narrators and subjects, a central link that modern readers, intent upon restricting Melville's insights to socioeconomic relations, have overlooked (Douglas 298; Franklin, "Herman Melville" 287; Rogin 192-201; Gilmore 132-45).

In Melville's chronicle the conflicting ideologies of employer and employee serve as a paradigm for different narrative styles. The narrator's role as employer limits his social awareness. He involves himself in the work lives of his staff in order to demonstrate his own superior abilities in surviving within the world of Wall Street by wielding authority over others. Yet the narrator's "method" turns back upon himself. While the other employees acquiesce "with submission," Bartleby "prefer|s~ not to" (Melville 20). The latter's behavior foregrounds the need for a different type of social involvement -- the survival of the individual caught within the rigidly structured financial world -- and by extension a different narrative style. Indeed, the tale analyzes and ultimately questions the narrator's "method" -- both as an employer in a position to aid discontented employees like Bartleby and as a narrator in a position to account for Bartleby's tragic story.

Melville foregrounds here alternative perspectives -- views that ultimately relate to the different modes of narration. And he reinforces his theme by creating a narrator who emphasizes method in his own opening paragraph. The narrator contrasts the approaches to narrative method and brags to the reader how he could provide a sentimental sketch: "If I pleased, |I~ could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep" (Melville 13). While these "good-natured gentlemen" and "sentimental souls" represent the general or conventional reader, as Gilmore suggests (142), the narrator's emphasis and concerns here are not upon the readers, but rather upon his own narrative approach and method in relating his tale. Deliberately discarding the sentimental mode for his narration of Bartleby, he consciously reserves it for the account of his own story. He proudly depicts himself as calculating and conservative: "The late John Jacob Astor, a person little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence, my second method" (Melville 14). Method, of course, is a double tip-off: the narrator's methodical approach to Bartleby as well as this teller's narrative method in his tale.

The narrator sentimentalizes not Bartleby's story, but rather his own narration. He defines his own character in sentimental tones. To represent the sentimental perspective, a style that the tale ultimately criticizes, Melville creates a narrator who resembles the detached narrators of Harper's. In some ways, "Bartleby" follows the pattern of a story from the December 1852 issue of this magazine. In "My Client's Story," a lawyer describes an encounter that culminates in the disintegration and ultimate death of the client (Dec. 1852: 48-52). He foreshadows the eventual outcome of this doomed individual: "He seemed a broken-down man: gray-haired, thin-visaged -- and cadaverous" (48). From the outset, the narrator of "My Client's Story" distances himself emotionally from his client. He constantly retreats from establishing a clear relationship between them: "We were once companions -- almost friends ... we had been intimate without altogether having been friends" (48). Furthermore, the narrator reacts to his client's emotionally moving confession with a chilling coldness: "It was proper to consider the matter coolly for there was such a thing as an oversensitive conscience" (50). Throughout his sketch of the other's decline, the narrator remains aloof, unsympathetic, and unwilling to become emotionally involved.(5)

The narrator of "Bartleby" also stresses his lack of involvement with others: "All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man" (Melville 14). This lawyer engages not in defending the rights of others: "I seldom ... indulge in dangerous indignation at wrongs and outrages" (Melville 14). He chooses rather "in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat" to conduct "a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds" (Melville 14). This specific contextual link between Melville's lawyer-narrator, the attorney in "My Client's Story," and the larger tradition of spectator-narrators in Harper's tales clarifies the controversial motivations behind Melville's particular characterization of his narrator that have plagued what Dan McCall has recently called the "Bartleby Industry" (99).

Like so many of the narrators in Harper's stories, this teller ultimately detaches himself from the lives of his more unfortunate employees. Preferring the walls of his office to "what landscape painters call 'life,'" the narrator retreats behind a "folding screen" that separates him from his staff. The screen serves as a metaphor for the distance of authority that enables him to demand submissive behavior from them (Melville 18-19), and it also suggests the sentimental distancing devices of the Harper's formula.

Melville's revisions to the story sharpen his analysis of the rhetorical power of sentiment. By changing the "wasted" form of Bartleby from a Christlike figure "stretched on a blanket" to a regressive fetal position, Melville shifts the emphasis from the actual tragedy to the narrator's reaction to it.(6)

To sentimentalize the story of Bartleby would be to sanctify him at the expense of the narrator's own authority and respectability that he wields as narrator. The reader would directly empathize with a portrait of Bartleby as a tragic victim of Wall Street. Sanctification of this employee would directly castigate the narrator since he, as the employer, would be largely responsible for the tragedy. By extracting sentimental rhetoric, the narrator deflects Bartleby's tragedy and reduces its impact. As a result, he remains the focal point and maintains narrative control and superiority over his subject. Uttering the words from Job 3 ("With kings and counsellors") upon discovering the death of his former employee, the lawyer chooses "superior sadness," rather than lament, as Hershel Parker has noted (163).

The narrator relates his intense feelings of revulsion towards hearing that a man like Bartleby "by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness" was forced to work as a subordinate clerk in the dead letter office: "Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men?" (Melville 45). He does gain insight into Bartleby's "pallid hopelessness" -- too late to aid this employee, but not too late to provide a sympathetic rendition of the tragedy (Melville 45). Even so, the lawyer retreats from his insight regarding deplorable working conditions and their detrimental effects upon workers, assuming instead the conventional sentimental stance: "Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!" (Melville 45).

Rather than console, this sudden, final retreat of the narrator disturbs. It points out the limitations of sentimentalism. We see the irony of the narrator's method in relating his stories: the story of his Wall Street and the story of Bartleby's dissolution within the narrator's world. The lawyer's account of Wall Street chronicles the compromises of individual self-respect that must occur in this world as it is constructed by the narrator. Given the irreconcilable results of this situation, the narrator must defend his (in)actions by employing abstracted sentiment.

The sentimental stance and "method" of the narrator, and by implication the popular practice of sentimental writing, is what is at stake here. This central point of the tale is overlooked even by those critics who see the "Victorian sentimentality" of the narrator (Brodwin 188), or, in McCall's case, attack prevailing views of the narrator's "Victorian gush" (143). The narrator's ending statement is no "vague sentimentality," as Allan Emery once argued (186). Rather, it is a deliberate, precise sentimentality, and this is exactly the point that Melville raises by employing such language.

This sentimentalist retreat of the narrator points to the confines of narrative perspective in "Bartleby," and explains what appears as structural discordancies. We wonder at the beginning of the story exactly why the narrator writes the story of Bartleby when he states clearly that "no materials exist for a full and satisfactory biography of this man" (Melville 14). We look in vain -- as many students do -- for explanations from the narrator of Bartleby's behavior. By reserving his explanation for Bartleby's behavior for the ending rather than the beginning of the story where it would have provided a psychological motivation -- and empathy -- for Bartleby, the narrator deflects reader sympathy from Bartleby to himself. And, in turn, by constructing the story in this manner, Melville demonstrates that his narrator's sentimental approach to narrative is a means of extracting himself from a highly challenging situation that would necessitate an ideological change, something that this comfortable narrator is clearly unwilling to consider.

Melville's mixture of sentiment and social analysis serves dual functions in this tale. It poignantly depicts the depersonalization that occurs in the money-making professions, while stopping short of sentimentalizing the stories of individuals like Bartleby. At the same time, it sentimentally portrays the attempts of employers like the narrator to aide his employees, while simultaneously pointing out that narrator's ineffectuality in changing the nature of the work place. The story of Bartleby and the story of Wall Street conjoin through social critique and separate through the diffusing screen of sentiment.


The context recovered in the above discussion provides solid ground for examining the peculiar narrative structure, style, and characterization that contribute to the uniqueness of "Bartleby, the Scrivener." The tale's stylistic and thematic bivalency can be linked to the many fine textual studies of the psychological dualities between the narrator and his subject, as well as between the attorney and his employees.(7) Just as the persona of Bartleby encourages challenging the authority of the employer, Melville's critical depiction of the narrator's sentimental style encourages readers -- in this case, students -- to question and criticize the authority of the narrator and his method. In doing so, Melville points out the symbiosis between teller and tale, narrator and subject, and calls attention to his craft. In the end, examining "Bartleby" in light of magazine conventions reveals how this tale goes far beyond the story of "Bartleby" and even "Bartleby, the Scrivener." It points out for the modern reader, whose interpretive possibilities are limited by the critical orientation of textual editors, the multi-layered weaving of social, literary, and aesthetic themes that Melville so cleverly embedded in his tale of Bartleby, the attorney, and the art of story-telling. Indeed, by providing the reader with insight into the sophisticated craft and artistry of the author, contextual analysis provides the interpretive proofs necessary to reaffirm "Bartleby's" rightful place within the canon.(8)


1 Jane Tompkins established the term "other" in her remarkable study Sensational Designs. D. H. Lawrence coined the term "classic" to designate the works of canonical antebellum writers in his provocative Studies in Classic American Literature. Among the most notable scholars that employ this term are Matthiessen, Smith, Bercovitch, and Barbour.

2 For the most recent criticism of employing new historicist methods for analyzing (classic) texts, see Bryant.

3 The tale appeared in the November and December 1853 issues of the magazine. The running header included only the first part of the story title, "Bartleby, the Scrivener," which was common practice in Putnam's, but the title page of both monthly segments included the complete title.

4 See also "Our Best Society" and "Elegant Tom Dillar."

5 Several popular shilling novels published during this time have been offered as possible sources for "Bartleby," such as James A. Maitland's The Lawyer's Story, suggested by Leon Howard and discussed by Bergmann. In New York in Slices, as David S. Reynolds has pointed out, the author portrays the rigidity of Wall Street and the individuals who suffer from business reversals. However, the sensational style of George Foster's novel does not stylistically complement either Melville's style or his focus in "Bartleby." Sensationalist rhetoric was not popular with Putnam's, as evidenced in its condemnation of Melville's Pierre, where the author successfully (though not always popularly) employed this style. See Howard 208; Bergmann 432-36; and Reynolds 294.

6 Melville Papers, Duyckinck Collection, New York Public Library. See also the note on "Bartleby" in The Piazza Tales 575.

7 Marcus 107-13; Smith 734-41; Guerard 1-14; Rogers 67-70; Keppler 115-20; Bollas 401-11; Dillingham 31-32.

8 I would like to thank Charlene Avallone, Lauren Berlant, Wai-chee Dimock, John Ernest, Robert A. Ferguson, Kathleen McCormack, and David S. Reynolds for their helpful comments regarding previous drafts of this essay.


Barbour, James, and Tom Quirk, eds. Writing the American Classics. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1990.

Baym, Nina. "Melville's Quarrel with Fiction." PMLA 94 (1979): 903-23.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, and Myra Jehlen, eds. Ideology and Classic American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986.

Bergmann, Johannes Deitrich. "'Bartleby' and The Lawyer's Story." American Literature 47 (1975): 432-36.

-----. "Melville's Stories." A Companion to Melville Studies. Ed. John Bryant. Westport: Greenwood, 1986. 241-78.

Bollas, Christopher. "Melville's Lost Self: Bartleby." American Imago 31 (1974): 401-11.

Brodwin, Stanley. "To the Frontiers of Eternity: Melville's Crossing in 'Bartleby, the Scrivener.'" Bartleby, the Inscrutable. Ed. M. Thomas Inge. Hamden: Archon, 1979. 174-96.

Bryant, John. "Melville's Typee Manuscript and the Limits of Historicism." Modern Language Studies (1991): 3-10.

"The Chateau Regnier." Harper's June 1853: 116-21.

Curtis, George William. "Andrew Cranberry: Attorney at Law." Putnam's Jan. 1853: 18-23.

Dillingham, William B. Melville's Short Fiction: 1853-1856. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1977. 178-84.

Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.

"Elegant Tom Dillar." Putnam's May 1853: 525-30.

Emery, Allan. "The Alternatives of Melville's 'Bartleby,' "NCF 31 (1976): 170-87.

Fisher, Marvin. Going Under: Melville's Short Fiction and the American 1850s. Baton Rouge: Louisiana SUP, 1977.

Franklin, H. Bruce. "Herman Melville: Artist of the Worker's World." Weapons of Criticism: Marxism in America and the Literary Tradition. Ed. Norman Rudich. Palo Alto: Ramparts, 1976. 287-309.

-----. The Wake of the Gods: Melville's Mythology. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1963.

Gilmore, Michael T. American Romanticism and the Marketplace. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.

Guerard, Albert J., ed. Stories of the Double. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967.

Howard, Leon. Melville: A Biography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1951.

Keppler, C. F. The Literature of the Second Self. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1972.

Lauter, Paul. Canons and Contexts. New York: Oxford UP, 1991.

Lawrence, D. H. Studies in Classic American Literature. London: Heinemann, 1924.

Marcus, Mordecai. "Melville's Bartleby as a Psychological Double." College English 23 (1962): 365-68.

McCall, Dan. The Silence of Bartleby. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1989.

Melville, Herman. "Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street." The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces 1839-1860. Ed. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, G. Thomas Tanselle, and others. Evanston: Northwestern UP and The Newberry Library, 1987. 13-45.

"My Client's Story." Harper's Dec. 1852: 48-52.

O'Brien, Fitz-James. "Our American Authors: Herman Melville." Putnam's Feb. 1853: 73-78.

"Our Best Society." Putnam's Feb. 1853: 170-79.

Parker, Hershel. "The 'Sequel' in 'Bartleby.'" Bartleby the Inscrutable. Ed. M. Thomas Inge. Hamden: Archon, 1979.

Reynolds, David S. Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1988. Harvard UP, 1989.

Rogers, Robert. A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature. Detroit: Wayne SUP, 1970.

Rogin, Michael Paul. Subversive Genealogy: The Politics and Art of Herman Melville. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1983.

Smith, Henry Nash. Democracy and the Novel: Popular Resistance to Classic American Writers. New York: Oxford UP, 1978.

Smith, Herbert F. "Melville's Master in Chancery and his Recalcitrant Clerk." American Quarterly 17 (1965): 734-41.

Post-Lauria, assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, has recently completed a book-length manuscript on Herman Melville and popular antebellum culture. She has published several articles on the cultural contexts of "classic" antebellum works.
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