Herman Melville-The Confidence Man

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love this book

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 21 November 2016 17:35 (seven years ago) link

Co-sign on the above-expressed opinion that the best way to read this book is chapter-by-chapter, once with all the footnotes interrupting, then a second time just reading the straight prose

fgti, Monday, 21 November 2016 18:00 (seven years ago) link

On Chapter Four!

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 November 2016 20:07 (seven years ago) link

I checked out the Norton critical edition from the library.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 November 2016 20:08 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

started Redburn, which has a scene in a homosexual brothel!

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 April 2018 14:42 (six years ago) link

Any good? I see the Penguin edition has one of those generic 'Nobody buys this so we can't be fucked doing a cover' covers.
https://images.penguinrandomhouse.com/cover/9780140431056

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 19 April 2018 01:32 (six years ago) link

Perhaps trying to give Dover Thrift Editions a run for their money.

We’ll Take Chanhassen (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 21 April 2018 00:13 (six years ago) link

It's the easiest novel he ever wrote -- few of those flourishes and ponderosities we expect. Apparently he regarded as hack work.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 April 2018 00:17 (six years ago) link

Hmm nothing gay there, nope

valorous wokelord (silby), Saturday, 21 April 2018 20:20 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

found this at longform.org the other day -- it's a pretty deep critical look at HM's entire career. skimmed some of it to avoid getting too much info about a couple books (pierre) i haven't read, but there's some tremendous writing here:

https://www.villagevoice.com/2019/08/02/herman-melvilles-great-escape/

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:44 (four years ago) link

Saw that you when you linked there on the other thread and have been meaning to read, thanks.

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:47 (four years ago) link

geoffrey o'brien i remember from back in the 80s at VV (esp.the voice lit supp): one of the critics i always enjoyed w/o knowing anything abt his deal

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2019 17:55 (four years ago) link

Pretending to have finished reading “the confidence man” got me my place on an American Lit BA in the mid 90s

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 16 August 2019 23:55 (four years ago) link

It also got me rejected from a UEA interview in 1997. “Ugh, The Confidence Man, minor Melville” the interviewer actually said to me.

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 16 August 2019 23:56 (four years ago) link

Ouch!

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 16 August 2019 23:58 (four years ago) link

It upset me at the time, but what a jerky/hilarious thing to a bookish 17 year old

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:07 (four years ago) link

* thing to say to a bookish etc

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:08 (four years ago) link

Right. Originally I was going to type “lol/ouch!”

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:09 (four years ago) link

I think the interviewer accurately assessed my fraudulence. I literally got on a train to each university interview with copies of crying of lot 49, white noise, confidence man and palimpsest stuffed in my backpack, thinking “fuck, i’ll cram what I can until the train stops”. I do remember bringing up Civilwarland (which, unlike the rest, I’d actually read) and the interviewer being, like, “George who?”

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:28 (four years ago) link

Anyway. I’ve been reading Moby Dick with my partner and we both feel like Melville is 1000x better read aloud than read on the page. It’s just so smooth. I can’t remember if the confidence man is similar though.

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:31 (four years ago) link

Last week's New Yorker published a solid Melville essay.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 August 2019 01:23 (four years ago) link

It prompted me to check Typee out of the library. I wasn't fond of Thte Confidence Man, but I must recommend Redburn if you love explicitly homoerotic/homosocial 19th century fiction. I may even tackle Pierre cuz Norton published a critical edition in 2017.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 August 2019 01:24 (four years ago) link

bbbbbbut Confidence Man is great!

And according to some websites, there were “sexcapades.” (James Morrison), Saturday, 17 August 2019 02:43 (four years ago) link

That New Yorker essay was good. I’m not that far of a drive away from Melville’s Arrowhead estate, it made me resolve that this is the year I trek out there.

Pierre is a truly wild read, completely off the deep end but very fun imo.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Saturday, 17 August 2019 02:53 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

So much of this shit this year, meanwhile I’m over here like
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EakXQXgNwdQ/Ux8HD5if51I/AAAAAAAAFFM/ATbxydB9AMY/s1600/heahers8.jpg

scampo italiano (gyac), Friday, 18 September 2020 11:30 (three years ago) link

three months pass...

My sis got me the LOA edition of Melville's poems. I know about a dozen of the Battle-Pieces but Clarel tempts me, especially after reading Andrew Delblanco's superb bio in February.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 16:48 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Haven't read the thread because I'm only on Chapter 8, but this book is getting very good:

At the sofa's further end sits a plump and pleasant person, whose aspect seems to hint that, if she have any weak point, it must be anything rather than her excellent heart. From her twilight dress, neither dawn nor dark, apparently she is a widow just breaking the chrysalis of her mourning.

Been thinking about changing my display name to "the man with the weed" but ppl would just think it was a drug reference.

Unfairport Convention (PBKR), Thursday, 2 February 2023 12:11 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

I finished this book and absolutely loved it. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of it, but it got better and better. Early on I kept trying to figure out which one was the Confidence Man until later I realized they were all Confidence Men in a country full of them. It really reminded me of Dostoevsky's Demons - the collision of characters inhabiting various philosophical/ideological positions. It also seems to attempt to illuminate a uniquely American character in the same way that Demons attempts to illustrate the Russian character.

Also, the book is so freakin' funny and ironic. The chapters with Frank and Charlie both egging each other on to drink is so good. All the little parodies of contemporary American authors. There is such a distance between the author and the characters - addressing the reader directly, commenting on the characters, etc. The way characters appear and dissolve, the stories embedded in stories is almost post-modern in ways.

I've read Moby-Dick (25 years ago) and Bartleby. What should I read next, Pierre or Billy Budd?

This machine bores fascism (PBKR), Wednesday, 26 April 2023 12:16 (one year ago) link

Redburn!

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 26 April 2023 12:18 (one year ago) link


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