Re: RARA-AVIS: Before 1920

From: Edward Pettit (
Date: 20 Oct 2007

Pierre would make an interesting book to read as a proto-noir. Incest, a hellish New York City (lots of allusions to Dante's Inferno). It was the book that destroyed Melville's writing career. When published one review ran with the title, "Herman Melville Crazy."
  William Ahearn wrote: Let's face it, not a lot measures up to Moby Dick. Out of curiosity, any chance you read Melville's The Confidence Man or Pierre Or The Ambiguities?

************ None of those, I'm sorry to say. I read Bartleby and Billy Budd. Billy Budd hit me as a mediocre play on the noble savage, and my reaction to Bartleby was, "So what? You can't save all the crazies." No reader empathy there at all on my part. Mario's later post is correct in identifying postmodern themes in Bartleby.


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