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|The Confidence Man
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1857
refered to by:
Three Novels: Soft Soap, The Leg, Will-O’-the Wisp (Het dwaallicht)
Heart of Darkness
Marcovaldo: or, The Seasons in the City
|"We are not among those who have had faith in Herman Melville's South Pacific travels so much as in his strength of imagination. The Confidence-Man shows him in a new character – that of a satirist, and a very keen, somewhat bitter, observer. His hero, like Mr. Melville in his earlier works, asks confidence of everybody under different masks of mendicancy, and is, on the whole, pretty successful.... It required close knowledge of the world, and of the Yankee world, to write such a book and make the satire acute and telling, and the scenes not too improbable for the faith given to fiction. Perhaps the moral is the gullibility of the great Republic, when taken on its own tack. At all events, it is a wide enough moral to have numerous applications, and sends minor shafts to right and left.|| Several capital anecdotes are told, and well told; but we are conscious of a certain hardness in the book, from the absence of humour, where so much humanity is shuffled into close neighbourhood. And with the absence of humour, too, there is an absence of kindliness. The view of human nature is severe and sombre – at least, that is the impression left on our mind.... Few Americans write so powerfully as Mr. Melville, or in better English, and we shall look forward with pleasure to his promised continuation of the masquerade. The first part is a remarkable work, and will add to his reputation."
- London Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review, July 1857, upon publication of The Confidence Man
Lezen&Cetera, Pieter Steinz
|BOOKS BY HERMAN MELVILLE:|
The Confidence Man
Male, female, deft, fraudulent, constantly shifting: which of the "masquerade" of passengers on the Mississippi steamboat Fidele is "the confidence man"?
|ON HERMAN MELVILLE'S BOOKSHELF|
40 different authors, ca. 1450 B.C. - ca. 95 A.D.
King James, for example.
William Shakespeare, 1606
Macbeth's tragedy is that of a good, brave and honourable man turned into the personification of evil by the workings of unreasonable ambition.
William Shakespeare, 1602
When Hamlet's mother remarries shortly after his father's death he's suspicious. And when his father's ghost tells him that he was murdered by the queens's new husband, Hamlet swears to take his revenge.
William Shakespeare, 1605
King Lear, the protagonist and central figure of this tragedy, is a proud and stubborn man. Because of his lack of good judgment, Lear loses his power and is humiliated by two of his daughters, whom he had trusted.
The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
The tale of a passionate woman in 17th-century Boston who challenges the system of moral authority and places belief in the higher law of her own heart.
John Milton, 1667
'Of Man's First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste Brought Death into the World, and all our woe...' In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the center of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man.
Two Years Before the Mast
Richard Henry Dana Jr., 1840
Richard Henry Dana is only nineteen when he abandons the patrician world of Boston and Harvard for an arduous voyage among real sailors, amid genuine danger.
Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex
Owen Chase, 1821
In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex, thousands of miles from home in the South Pacific, was rammed by an angry sperm whale. The Essex sank, leaving twenty crew members floating in three small boats for ninety days. The incident was the Titanic story of its day, and provided the inspiration for Melville's Moby-Dick.
Sartor Resartus: the Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh
Thomas Carlyle, 1833-1834
A fictitious editor retails the theories of an equally fictitious German professor who has come to the conclusion that human institutions and morals are only clothes to shield us from nothingness, clothes that can be changed as the whims of the age or fashion dictate.
The Nantucket whaling ship, the Pequod, spirals the globe in search of Moby Dick, the mythical white whale of the Southern Oceans. Driven by the obsessive revenge of Captain Ahab, the crew and the outcast Ishmael find themselves caught up in a demonic pursuit, which leads inexorably to an apocalyptic climax.
|WHAT TO READ AFTER MOBY DICK?|
OBSESSION AND SELF-DESTRUCTION
Willem Frederik Hermans, 1966
A gripping tale of a man approaching breaking point set beyond the end of the civilised world: a modern classic of European literature.
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad, 1898
Seaman Marlowe journeys deep into the heart of colonial Africa, where he encounters Kurtz, an idealist crazed and depraved by his power over the natives. The meeting prompts Marlowe to reflect on the darkness at the heart of all men.
William Faulkner, 1936
Narrated by Quentin Compson, the suicide in The Sound and the Fury, this is the tale of Thomas Sutpen, a poor White who dreams of founding a dynasty. His refusal to accept his wife' s Negro blood initiates a bloody train of events to create a vision of doom of the American South.
Cormac McCarthy, 1985
Recounting the adventures of a young man from Tennessee, "The Kid", who has drifted to Texas in the 1840s, this is an apocalyptic novel and mythic vision of a blood-red Early West.
Ralph Ellison, 1952
A black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility.
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, 1924
The story of Hans Castorp, a modern everyman who spends seven years in an Alpine sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, finally leaving to become a soldier in World War I.
Marquis de Sade, 1791
Justine is the woeful story of a chaste, virtuous woman who is shown in the most graphic and vile ways that such virtue is rewarded only with suffering in the world outside convent walls.
STRANGE ADVENTURES AT SEA
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
Edgar Allan Poe, 1838
Poe's only book-length narrative, recounting his Nantucket-born hero's adventures, misadventures, and discoveries, and his survival of shipwreck and capture by cannibals, as he journeys toward the South Pole.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne, 1869? - 70?
French naturalist Dr Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a self-contained world built by its enigmatic captain.
[In de bovenkooi]
J.M.A. Biesheuvel, 1972
Charles Johnson, 1990
In 1830, seeking to escape an unwanted marriage, Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave, becomes a stowaway aboard 'The Republic', unaware that the ship is a slave clipper bound for West Africa.
|Typee / Omoo|
1846 / 1847
|The Piazza Tales |
Six of the author's best short stories, including two adventures, a classic mystery tale of mutiny and rescue, a satire and a series of allegorical sketches.
|Billy Budd, Sailor|
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn
Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
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