As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am reading both Bartleby, the Scrivener and “A Report to an Academy” at the urging of a friend who recently wrote an analytical essay on both. I want to make sure that I am familiar with the texts if I plan on following his arguments! So, here are the opening lines of both texts, which I should finish by next week.
I am a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom yet nothing that I know of has ever been written: — I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. I have known many of them professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. But I waive the biographies of all other scriveners for a few passages in the life of Bartleby, who was a scrivener of the strangest I ever saw or heard of.
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
Published in 1853, Bartleby, the Scrivener sounds very interesting as a peek into what life was like for a Wall Street professional over a 150 years ago. I know very little about this story, and very little about Wall Street, so I am definitely curious!
Honored members of the Academy!
You have done me the honor of inviting me to give your Academy an account of the life I formerly led as an ape.
“A Report to an Academy” by Franz Kafka
Whoa, what?! Alright, now we’re getting interesting! This story is only 10 pages long, and is apparently about a civilized ape living as a human. Or will he be less civilized now that he is living among humans? I know how writing like Kafka’s works…I’m intrigued.