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Herman Melville's Philosophy Of Transcendentalism In Bartleby, The Scrivener

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Herman Melville, the author of Bartleby, The Scrivener, was born in 1819 and published his novella in 1853 (Biography.com Editors). In his novella, a successful lawyer of Wall Street hires a scrivener, named Bartleby, who begins the story as a very good worker, and then he declines to work by saying “I’d prefer not to” to the commands given to him. After Bartleby refuses to leave his firm, The Lawyer moves his firm to a different location to abandon Bartleby, who is arrested and placed in prison where he eventually dies from starvation. Melville’s intended audience was the readers of Putnam’s Monthly Magazine literate enough to understand his message. Writing for Putnam’s Monthly “enabled him to reach a large number of readers receptive to his literary interests and social concerns” (Talley 81). This time period also marks the beginning of a new idealistic philosophy. The philosophy of Transcendentalism arose in the 1830s in the eastern United States as a reaction to intellectualism (“Transcendentalism”). Its adherents yearned for intense spiritual experiences and sought to transcend the purely material world of reason and rationality (“Transcendentalism”). Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were two of the most famous and influential Transcendentalists (“Transcendentalism”). Three of the more prominent characteristics of Transcendentalists are disobedient, isolated, and nonmaterialistic. Thoreau supported disobedience in his essay titled “Essay on Civil
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