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世界经典名著：书记员巴特尔比（英文版）（短篇小说的优秀代表作，讲述一个社会边缘人的故事） (English Edition) Kindle电子书
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
—Time Out London
"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer
"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
—The New Yorker
"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)
"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
—The Wall Street Journal --此文字指其他 kindle_edition 版本。
CHAPTER IThree Invalids--Sufferings of George and Harris.--A victim to one hundred and seven fatal maladies.--Useful prescriptions.--Cure for liver complaint in children.--We agree that we are overworked and need rest.--A week on the rolling deep?--George suggests the River.--Montmorency lodges an objection.--Original motion carried by majority of three to one.
THERE WERE FOUR OF US--GEORGE, AND WILLIAM Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking and talking about how bad we were--bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it. Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that he had fits of giddiness, too, and hardly knew what he was doing. With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a mancould tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch--hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases generally. I forgot which was the first distemper I plunged into--some fearful, devastating scourge, I know--and, before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever--read the symptoms--discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months--without knowing it--wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus' dance--found, as I expected, that I had that too--began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically--read up ague, and learned that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was house-maid's knee.I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn't I got house-maid's knee? Why this invidious reservation? After awhile,however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without house-maid's knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me.I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to "walk the hospitals," if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. I could not feel my heart. I had stopped beating. I have since been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out as far as ever it would go, and shut one eye, and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had scarlet fever.I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather all for nothing, when I fancy I'm ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going tohim now. "What a doctor wants," I said, "is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each." So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:"Well, what's the matter with you?"I said:"I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is not the matter with me. I have not got housemaid's knee. Why I have not got house-maid's knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I have got."And I told him how I came to discover it all.Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn't expecting it--a cowardly thing to do, I call it--and immediately afterward butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist's, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back.He said he didn't keep it.I said:"You are a chemist?"He said:"I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative store and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me."I read the prescription. It ran:"1 lb. beefsteak, with 1 pt. bitter beerevery 6 hours.1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night."And don't stuff up your head with things you don't understand."I followed the directions, with the happy result--speaking for myself--that my life was preserved, and is still going on.In the present instance, going back to the liver-pill circular, I had the symptoms, beyond all mistake, the chief among them being "a general disinclination to work of any kind."What I suffer in that way no tongue can tell. From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness."Why, you skulking little devil, you," they would say, "get up and do something for your living, can't you?"--not knowing, of course, that I was ill.And they didn't give me pills; they gave me clumps on the side of the head. And, strange as it may appear, those clumps on the head often cured me--for the time being. I have known. one clump on the head have more effect upon my liver, and make me feel more anxious to go straight away then and there, and do what was wanted to be done, without further loss of time, than a whole box of pills does new.You know, it often is so--those simple, old-fashioned remedies are sometimes more efficacious than all the dispensary stuff.We sat there for half an hour, describing to each other our maladies. I explained to George and William Harris how I felt when I got up in the morning, and William Harris told us how he felt when he went to bed; and George stood on the hearth rug, and gave us a cleverand powerful piece of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the night.George fancies he is ill; but there's never anything really the matter with him, you know.At this point Mrs. Poppets knocked at the door to know if we were ready for supper. We smiled sadly at one another, and said we supposed we had better try to swallow a bit. Harris said a little something in one's stomach often kept the disease in check; and Mrs. Poppets brought the tray in, and we drew up to the table, and toyed with a little steak and onions and rhubarb tart.I must have been very weak at the time, because I know, after the first half hour or so, I seemed to take no interest whatever in my food--an unusual thing for me--and I didn't want any cheese.This duty done, we refilled our glasses, lighted our pipes, and resumed the discussion upon our state of health. What it was that was actually the matter with us, we none of us could be sure of; but the unanimous opinion was that it--whatever it was--had been brought on by overwork."What we want is rest," said Harris."Rest and a complete change," said George. "The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium."George has a cousin, who is usually described in the charge-sheet as a medical student, so that he naturally has a somewhat family-physicianary way of putting things.I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes--some half-forgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world--some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, fromwhence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far off and faint.Harris said he thought it would be humpy. He said he knew the sort of place I meant; where everybody went to bed at eight o'clock, and you couldn't get a "Referee" for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to get your baccy."No," said Harris, "if you want rest and change, you can't beat a sea trip."I objected to the sea trip strongly. A sea trip does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it, but for a week, it is wicked.You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore, light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into one. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn't come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish you were dead. On Saturday, you are able to swallow a little beef tea, and to sit up on deck and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kindhearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.I remember my brother-in-law going for a short sea trip once, for the benefit of his health. He took a return berth from London to Liverpool; and when he got to Liverpool the only thing he was anxious about was to sell that return ticket.It was offered round the town at a tremendous reduction, so I am told; and was eventually sold for eighteen pence to a bilious-looking youth who had just been advised by his medical men to go to the seaside and take exercise."Seaside!" said my brother-in-law; pressing the ticketaffectionately into his hand; "why you'll have enough to last you a lifetime; and as for exercise! why, you'll get more exercise, sitting down on that ship, than you would turning somersaults on dry land."He himself--my brother-in-law--came back by train. He said the Northwestern Railway was healthy enough for him.Another fellow I knew went for a week's voyage round the coast, and before they started, the steward came to him to ask whether he would pay for each meal as he had it, or arrange beforehand for the whole series.The steward recommended the latter course, as it would come so much cheaper. He said they would do him for the whole week at two pounds five. He said for breakfast there would be fish, followed by a grill. Lunch was at one, and consisted of four courses. Dinner at six--soup, fish, entree, joint, poultry, salad, sweets, cheese, and dessert. And a light meat supper at ten.My friend thought he would close on the two-pound-five job (he is a hearty eater), and did so.Lunch came just as they were off Sheerness. He didn't feel so hungry as he thought he should, and so contented himself with a bit of boiled beef and some strawberries and cream. He pondered a good deal during the afternoon, and at one time it seemed to him that he had been eating nothing but boiled beef for weeks, and at other times it seemed that he must have been living on strawberries and cream for years.Neither the beef nor the strawberries and cream seemed happy, either--seemed discontented like.At six, they came and told him dinner was ready. The announcement aroused no enthusiasm within him, but he felt that there was some of that two-pound-five to be worked off, and he held on to ropes and things and went down. A pleasant odor of onions and hot ham mingled with fried fish and greens greeted him at the bottom of the ladder; and then the steward came up with an oily smile, and said:"What can I get you, sir?""Get me out of this," was the feeble reply.And they ran him up quick, and propped him over to leeward and left him.For the next four days he lived a simple and blameless life on thin captain's biscuits (I mean that the biscuits were thin, not the captain) and soda water; but toward Saturday he got uppish and went in for weak tea and dry toast, and on Monday he was gorging himself on chicken broth. He left the ship on Tuesday, and as it steamed away from the landing stage, he gazed after it regretfully."There she goes," he said, "there she goes, with two pounds' worth of food on board that belongs to me, and that I haven't had."He said that if they had given him another day he thought he could have put it straight.So I set my face against the sea trip. Not, as I explained, upon my own account. I was never queer. But I was afraid for George. George said he should be all right, and would rather like it, but he would advise Harris and me not to think of it, as he felt sure we should both be ill. Harris said that, to himself, it was always a mystery how people managed to get sick at sea--said he thought people must do it on purpose, from affectation--said he had often wished to be, but had never been able.Then he told us anecdotes of how he had gone across the Channel when it was so rough that the passengers had to be tied into their berths, and he and the captain were the only two living souls on board who were not ill. Sometimes it was he and the second mate who were not ill; but it was generally he and one other man. If not he and another man, then it was he by himself.It is a curious fact, but nobody is ever seasick--on land. At sea you come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boatloads of them; but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was tobe seasick. Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery.If most men were like a fellow I saw on the Yarmouth boat one day, I could account for the seeming enigma easily enough. It was just off Southend Pier, I recollect, and he was leaning out through one of the portholes in a very dangerous position. I went up to him to try and save him."Hi! come further in," I said, shaking him by the shoulder. "You'll be overboard.""Oh, my! I wish I was," was the only answer I could get; and here I had to leave him.Three weeks afterward I met him in the coffee-room of a Bath hotel, talking about his voyages, and explaining, with enthusiasm, how he loved the sea."Good sailor!" he replied, in answer to a mild young man's envious query; "well, I did feel a little queer once, I confess. It was off Cape Horn. The vessel was wrecked the next morning."I said:"Weren't you a little shaky by Southend Pier one day, and wanted to be thrown overboard?""Southend Pier!" he replied, with a puzzled expression."Yes; going down to Yarmouth, last Friday three weeks.""Oh, ah--yes," he answered, brightening up; "I remember now. I did have a headache that afternoon. It was the pickles, you know. They were the most disgraceful pickles I ever tasted in a respectable boat. Did you have any?"For myself, I have discovered an excellent preventive against seasickness in balancing myself. You stand in the center of the deck, and as the ship heaves and pitches, you move your body about, so as to keep it always straight. When the front of the ship rises, youlean forward, till the deck almost touches your nose; and when its back end gets up, you leaned backward. This is all very well for an hour or two; but you can't balance yourself for a week.
George said:"Let's go up the river."He said we should have fresh air, exercise and quiet; the constant change of scene would occupy our minds (including what there was of Harris'); and the hard work would give us a good appetite, and make us sleep well.Harris said he didn't think George ought to do anything that would have a tendency to make him sleepier than he always was, as it might be dangerous. He said he didn't very well understand how George was going to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day, summer and winter alike; but thought that if he did sleep any more, he might just as well be dead, and so save his board and lodging.Harris said, however, that the river would suit him to a "T." I don't know what a "T" is (except a six-penny one, which includes bread-and-butter and cake ad lib., and is cheap at the price, if you haven't had any dinner). It seems to suit everybody, however, which is greatly to its credit.It suited me to a "T" too, and Harris and I both said it was a good idea of George's; and we said it in a tone that seemed to somehow imply that we were surprised that George should have come out so sensible.The only one who was not struck with the suggestion was Montmorency. He never did care for the river, did Montmorency."It's all very well for you fellows," he says; "you like it, but I don't. There's nothing for me to do. Scenery is not in my line, and I don't smoke. If I see a rat, you won't stop; and if I go to sleep, you get fooling aboutwith the boat, and slop me overboard. If you ask me, I call the whole thing bally foolishness."We were three to one, however, and the motion was carried.All materials in this new edition copyright © 2001 by Tom Doherty --此文字指其他 kindle_edition 版本。
_Bartleby_ is a psychological mystery that prefigures the work of Franz Kafka. Melville understands the anxiety of modern life, especially the form it takes in our cities. The novella’s subtitle is “A Story of Wall Street.” Bartleby is an ordinary man, just like Ivan Ilyich in that other famous novella (please see my review). It is not clear why the protagonist all of a sudden decides to rebel and reply to every request with, “I would rather not do it.” Can we even call them acts of rebellion? This is part of the mystery of Bartleby, and because the novella (unlike the short story) doesn’t rely on revelation, the mystery remains even after one has closed the book. Short stories and novels tend to answer the questions they raise; the novella simply enjoys raising questions. It is more often than not an open text, and there lies its charm: we may continue to discuss it, and as we do so we participate in the creative process. The narrator does not really tell us who Bartleby is. He lest us decide.
Whether conscious or not, Bartleby’s curt reply is a challenge to pragmatism and the Protestant work ethic, two of the tenets of American society. In a society that regards almost everything--including human beings--in terms of its practical value or usefulness, Bartleby makes himself useless. The year after the publication of _Bartleby_, Henry David Thoreau would write, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Bartleby incarnates this silent cry of despair.
Novellas, you will find, may often be described fairly in one short sentence. What is _The Death of Ivan Ilych_ about? It’s about a man who becomes aware of his mortality. What is _The Metamorphosis_ about? It’s about a man who tries to adapt after finding himself turned into a bug. This is also true of _Bartleby_, and of that other literary gem that is _Benito Cereno_ (1855). Both of these novellas are included in _The Piazza Tales_ (1856), along with three short stories and a collection of sketches on the Galápagos Islands. The novella is the genre of repetition and reexamination. We may feel the text has us going around in circles, and in a sense it does. The movement is circular, but we do not come back to the exact same place: the novella has a spiral structure. Bartleby repeats, “I would rather not,” but every time he says it it’s different.
I observed that the novella does not rest on a revelation. In the case of _Bartleby_, there is a revelation at the end, as the narrator tries to make sense of his unaccommodating employee, but rather than providing answers this revelation leads only to more uncertainty. The nucleus of the novella is unknowable. The novella is a series of conjectures that revolve around a void. The more we ask, the less we know.
_Bartleby, the Scrivener_ is one of the best American novellas ever written, by one of the American masters of the novella. It is no coincidence that a publishing house that focuses on the novella has chosen the name Melville House. And yes, they do have an edition of _Bartleby_. This novella is so refreshing within the Melville corpus that it will delight both lovers and haters of _Moby Dick_, for basically the same reasons. If you enjoy _Bartleby_, I recommend _Billy Budd_ and _Benito Cereno_, in that order.
Next on my list, Dostoevsky’s _Notes from Underground_ (1864).
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the book!
The story can be read from many standpoints. Was that the author's intention? I wish I knew. I do not know. Obviously, the story is written by Herman Melville. That alone makes it worth the effort in terms of the study of literature.
Bartley is pretty much the only character who is actually named. Certainly Herman Melville is sophisticated enough that I can assume that is intentional. I feel that a sense of isolation is created, by the author, amid an urban environment. Then we find Bartleby had worked in a "dead letter" office. It is my understanding that Mr. Melville himself was becoming a somewhat forgotten author in his own lifetime.
In the course of further study, I found that the story did not find immediate acclaim but has since become iconic. This is true with many works. "The Great Gadsby", which I truly love, comes to mind. But I had to read The Great Gadsby twice, and all of F. Scott Fitgerald's work in between, in order to really come to appreciate The Great Gadsby. I do not feel that way about this story. But I really enjoyed it as a reading experience. Thank You...
But now I think of him differently. Maybe it’s because I have more experiences in a journey/sailing of life than I had when I first encountered the Bartleby character. Whatever it may be, my perspective of the character has been changed in a humane way. Since I re-read the story this afternoon, I have felt bottomless sympathy for Bartleby. Mixed with pathos and sprinkles of humor in the narrative of his benevolent former employer, the figure of Bartleby evokes springs of human compassion and humanity itself. And my feelings for this tragic scrivener amount to what the narrator felt about his former employee.
I am not hereby intent on “analyzing” the psychological aspects of Bartleby and his former Wall Street lawyer boss. And I don’t think that even the writer Melville himself ascribed such psychoanalytical theory to these characters in mind when he wrote the story. To me the story itself tells what drove a sensitive man like Bartleby to such demise in the eyes of a compassionate man – and a decent employer seldom found these days. Loneliness, Hopelessness, Sorrow, and Reality of Death all packaged in letters to be burned in flames deprived the humanness of the forlorn scrivener. The Death of Humanity, that is. Having worked in the Office of Dead Letters at Washington must have been a traumatic experience to someone like Bartleby with eggshell sensitivity. Surely, there is no doubt that Bartleby was mentally disturbed, but who would hate or even despise him for his malaise?…
Readers will conclude that it’s only a fictional story in which no such characters will/would exist in reality. But I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, I have always believed that fictions are always built upon factual elements of human life to a certain degree. Dismissing stories as creations of imaginativeness seems to miss the fundamental truths laid behind the subject matters of stories. That the multitudes of change and choice of our human life with a bit of creative imaginations is a substance of any story. Ditto Stephen King, who has once said that the stories are artifacts that are not really made up, but that are based upon preexisting objects we discover. Ditto Shakespeare who once said we are all actors and actress on a stage called a “Life.”
The tall, lean, pallid and lugubrious image of Bartleby the Scrivener still lingers in my mind… All those returned/erturning letters flooded into the office every single day might have come from those who died in despair, those who died hopeless, and those who died suffocated by insurmountable sufferings; Bartleby had lost his own sense of existence, feeling utterly dispirited, pessimistic, and lethargic in performing demands of his duty. It was the loss of meaning of life that made him passively resistant to all the ordinary functions of daily life which all seemed insignificant to him. The life itself was nihilistic and hence non-existential to Bartleby. Humanity in the expressions of feelings and emotions meant nothing to him; it had ceased to exist in the form of dead letter attesting to existential horrors, which had led the authors to death, which had taken the poor Bartleby as the witness thereof.
Thus the lamentable outcry of the narrator still deeply reverberates in my mind even after I closed the book: “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, Humanity!”