decorative image of a paitning of Herman Melville positioned against a bachground of stacked books and a candle


Get comfortable, faithful listeners: this is our longest story yet.

November’s read-aloud is a strange and solemn tale coming to us from the East Coast: Herman Melville’s exemplary novella “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street.”

Herman Melville (1819 – 1891) was an American author of novels, short stories, and poems; much of his work was written during the American Renaissance. Before his writing career, Melville worked as a legal clerk and sailor, experiences which informed many of his written works. Melville’s authorial career spanned more than forty years, with Moby-Dick eventually surfacing as his most notable literary achievement.

As notable as it is mystifying, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street” is another of Melville’s greatest works. It tells the story of a sympathetic employer’s struggle to understand his employee’s unwillingness to participate in the workplace—or life in general, for that matter.

Want to read along? Click here to read the story on Project Gutenberg.

Thank you to the Friends of the Bloomfield Township Public Library for sponsoring the closed captioning of this video.

A new read-aloud will be published every month on the Adult Services Vimeo page, so keep an eye out for new titles! Material selected for these read-alouds are in the public domain and are sourced from Project Gutenberg, so that listeners can read along if they would like.