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Title    Author    Year    Contributors
Bartleby, the Scrivener

Bartleby, the Scrivener

Author: Herman Melville

Year Published: 1853

Description: Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street—one in Herman Melville's only collection of short stories, The Piazza Tales—tells the story of a clerk employed by a wealthy Manhattan lawyer to duplicate legal documents by hand. Although at first an earnest worker, Bartleby soon refuses assignments, developing a stock response of "I would prefer not to." Eventually, he does no work whatsoever; however, now living at the office, he refuses to leave. Through a series of actions, his employer attempts to help him, but, ultimately, his inertia overcomes.

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'Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby, in a singular mild, firm voice, replied, "I would prefer not to.'

Bartleby, the Scrivener

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