- Taschenbuch: 400 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin Classics; Auflage: New (28. Februar 1991)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0140445471
- ISBN-13: 978-0140445473
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,7 x 1,6 x 19,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 6 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 376.600 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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The Confidence-man: His Masquerade (Penguin Classics) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 25. August 2005
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“The great transcendental satire.” —Carl Van Vechten
Onboard the Fidele, a steamboat floating down the Mississippi to New Orleans, a confidence man sets out to defraud his fellow passengers. In quick succession he assumes numerous guises - from a legless beggar and a worldly businessman to a collector for charitable causes and a cosmopolitan' gentleman, who simply swindles a barber out of the price of a shave. Making very little from his hoaxes, the pleasure of trickery seems an end in itself for this slippery conman. Is he the Devil? Is his chicanery merely intended to expose the mercenary concerns of those around him? Set on April Fool's Day, The Confidence-Man (1857) is an engaging comedy of masquerades, digressions and shifting identity, and a devastating satire on the American dream.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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"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.
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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