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5.0 von 5 Sternen Skip Moby Dick and read this instead...
OK, well maybe read "Moby Dick" too, but if you're going to read just one book by Melville, I suggest this one. Disregarded in Melville's lifetime, this book could have been written today...except that it exemplifies the cultural moment that produced it. Lyrical, magnificent, prescient, and wonderfully confusing, I'm on a personal mission to introduce this...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Mai 2000 von lily_d

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2.0 von 5 Sternen Melville takes a plunge!
We all know and love Melville for "Moby Dick", but this book exhibits no such greatness. The devil is appearing in diffent guises on April Fool's day on the ship Fidele, a story that had a lot of potential for greatness. Sadly, the "Confidence Man" (Satan) uses the same routine over and over, and he is far from fiendishly clever. Certain passages...
Veröffentlicht am 12. Mai 1999 von Kristian Lavrentidis (walt_sto...


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Skip Moby Dick and read this instead..., 11. Mai 2000
OK, well maybe read "Moby Dick" too, but if you're going to read just one book by Melville, I suggest this one. Disregarded in Melville's lifetime, this book could have been written today...except that it exemplifies the cultural moment that produced it. Lyrical, magnificent, prescient, and wonderfully confusing, I'm on a personal mission to introduce this novel to as many people as possible.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Melville and his Masques, 27. November 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics) (Taschenbuch)
Set aboard a Mississippi side-wheel steamer in the 1850s, Melville's novel charts the progress of the American character at a time when the old frontier was giving way, albeit slowly, to a new, urban frontier.
"The Confidence-Man" works at so many different levels that it is no wonder Melville's readers weren't quite sure what to make of his ninth novel. It is a call-and-response of idealism suborned for the purposes of sheer humbuggery, material theft and moral sophistry.
I think readers would do well to always keep the word "confidence" in mind as they read the novel; it recurs time and again in different contexts throughout the book. Melville's purpose is to highlight the rift between what things seem to be and what they truly are. It is eerily existential in tone and readers familiar with Kierkegaard and Camus will be delighted by Melville's keen appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition.
The wretched reception of "The Confidence-Man" undermined what little was left of Melville's own self-confidence as a writer whose work could support his family. In one sense, this was a grievous shame, because Melville lived for nearly four more decades and, presumably, could have spent that time producing more great literature had his contemporaries simply recognized the intellectual genius of his work.
In another sense, though, "The Confidence-Man" is a fitting send-off to a literary career hobbled by critical inattention and plain bad luck. Melville's America is not an America where dreams come true (note how China Aster is destroyed by his) and where confidence -- optimism -- is rewarded or even warranted. Yet, it is an America recognizably closer to the one we live in than those crafted by Melville's contemporaries -- Emerson, Thoreau, Irving.
"The Confidence-Man" is a very complex novel of ideas. This particular edition is very useful because it provides fairly thorough annotation throughout the book. I would highly recommend it for use in a graduate course on American intellectual history, particularly juxtaposed against Emerson and Tocqueville's analyses of American society and culture.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Melville's Enigmatic American Testament., 7. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics) (Taschenbuch)
With "The Confidence-Man," Melville offered a final novelistic expression of his hopes, doubts, and frustrations about the American nation on the verge of Civil War in the late 1850's.
Many critics and reviewers take a negative point of view on this novel, saying that the narrative instability and episodic nature of the novel represents Melville's anger with the increasingly poor reception of his later novels, including the brilliant "Moby-Dick".
Over the course of the novel's first half, we are presented with a string of characters who spout the virtues of charity and trust, all supposedly different manifestations of one Confidence-Man. The confidence-man engages passengers of the riverboat Fidele from St. Louis to New Orleans in philosophical, literary, personal, and business-related conversations. This is the heart of the novel, even in the second half, where only one confidence-man appears. As in Cervantes' "Don Quixote," you are able to tease out more about the ambiguous purposes of the novel through speeches rather than actions.
At points amusing, horrifying, and sad, "The Confidence-Man" is difficult, if not impossible to categorize in any simple fashion. An extremely worthwhile read, especially if you read it as a prophetic work of the American Civil War and try to figure out for yourself if Melville thought things would turn out alright, or if the US was due for an apocalyptic judgment.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the very best books in american literature., 23. September 1999
This is Melville testament. He left us with an affair we could recreate in our mind countless times , each time reaching a different conclusion.. We could peel off the confidence man mask after mask and would never reach the end. Because there is no such a thing as a face behind a mask. While in fact is the allegory and what you make of it the only thing that really matters. Melville loves to expose the blundering arrogance of man in his believing to posses the capacity of knowledge and of eternal life. The wisest man is the one that knows that he doesn't know anything. And the barber, after he got taken by the confidence man , realizes that his downfall was his pride, the worst of all sins. The very thing wich cost Prometeus eternal suffering and Lucifer banishment , set the barber back the price of an haircut. And while Melville is making us a little more humble with this, he's using the most unforgiving satire of the grotesque evolution of american society to do so. This was a dangerous book at the time it was written and it's even more so nowdays, that's why its been buried for such a long time.The masquerade is actually your perception, life it's the only reality and only the fools fear death because they believe they have to know what comes after. After the author fastened Ahab to the back of the leviatan for all eternity, he wanted make sure that we got the point.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Melville's Least Understood Masterpiece, 17. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics) (Taschenbuch)
The Confidence Man is without question the most revolutionary work of nineteenth century fiction--enormously experimental, provocative and simply bizarre. The experimentations with flatenned characterizations; the episodic, even repetitive plot structure; and the sheer power of its hallucinatory narration make this novel a post-modern work before there was even modernism. Greatly ignored in its own day, and for much of ours, the Confidence Man is central to an understanding of narrative history and the evolution of this tortured genius who, after his novel Pierre, seems to have transformed narrative conventions in a way that few readers have ever grasped. A brilliant, absolutely central work that makes the much-lauded experimentations of near-contemporary American writers seem puny by comparison.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Melville takes a plunge!, 12. Mai 1999
We all know and love Melville for "Moby Dick", but this book exhibits no such greatness. The devil is appearing in diffent guises on April Fool's day on the ship Fidele, a story that had a lot of potential for greatness. Sadly, the "Confidence Man" (Satan) uses the same routine over and over, and he is far from fiendishly clever. Certain passages contain interesting symbolisms (like Emerson and Thoreau being depicted as novel characters), but as a whole this novel is a failure.
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The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics)
The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics) von Herman Melville (Taschenbuch - 28. Februar 1991)
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