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I Would Prefer Not To

Essential Stories

Herman Melville



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Pushkin Press
01 March 2022
In these stories of the surreal mundanity of office life and obscure tensions at sea, Melville's darkly modern sensibility plunges us into a world of irony and mystery, where nothing is as it first appears.

A lawyer hires a new copyist, only to be met with stubborn, confounding resistance. A cynical lightning rod salesman plies his trade by exploiting fears in stormy weather. After boarding a beleaguered Spanish slave ship, an American trader's cheerful outlook is repeatedly shadowed by paralyzing unease.
Imprint:   Pushkin Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 165mm,  Width: 120mm, 
Weight:   368g
ISBN:   9781782277460
ISBN 10:   1782277463
Series:   Pushkin Collection
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Herman Melville was born to a merchant family in New York City in 1819. His father died suddenly in 1832, and Melville took jobs as a bank clerk, a farmhand and a teacher to make ends meet. In 1839, he embarked on the first in a series of sea voyages that would provide him with inspiration for his novels Typee (1846), Omoo (1847) and his great masterpiece, Moby-Dick (1851). Following poor sales and hostile reviews, Melville abandoned fiction writing in 1857, turning to poetry and a career as a customs inspector on the New York docks. He died in relative obscurity in 1891.

Reviews for I Would Prefer Not To: Essential Stories

'Melville instinctively aspired to the grandest scale, and even in his shorter works offers vast inklings and the resonance of cosmic concerns' - John Updike 'Melville seems to promise the very stuff of existence: time, space, air. We don't so much read him as inhale him' - Geoffrey O'Brien 'There are very few stories that, on re-reading after re-reading, seem to become impossibly more perfect, but Herman Melville's eerie, aching story Bartleby, the Scrivener is one such' - Stuart Kelly 'Some of the most brilliant stories of his or any other century. From proto-existentialist Bartleby-whose dry, ironic voice of resistance chimes with our own times-to the dark ocean gothic of Benito Cereno, he surpasses any expectation' - Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or, the Whale

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