The Confidence-man: His Masquerade

Front Cover
Dalkey Archive Press, 2007 - Fiction - 355 pages

A scathing, razor-sharp satire set on a New Orleans-bound riverboat, The Confidence-Man exposes the fraudulent optimism of so many American idols and idealists -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and P. T. Barnum, in particular -- and draws a dark vision of a country being swallowed by its illusions of progress.Why is Dalkey Archive doing yet another edition of The Confidence-Man? And why is it doing Melville at all? First, this edition, originally published by Bobbs-Merrill over forty years ago, contains remarkable annotations by H. Bruce Franklin, intended for both the general reader and the scholar. It's an edition we have long admired. More importantly, we believe that The Confidence-Man is America's first postmodern novel -- game-like, darkly comic, and completely inventive.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LisaMaria_C - LibraryThing

I felt mixed about Moby Dick and Billy Budd, but there were aspects of the writing I admire, and I also read Benito Cereno today and was impressed. So if I'm not a Melville fan, neither am I a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GaryPatella - LibraryThing

I thought this was a great work by Melville. Although the title character is on a boat for practically the entire novel, I think that Melville really stepped out of his seafaring comfort zone in this ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

A mute goes aboard a boat on the Mississippi
3
Showing that many men have many minds
10
In which a variety of characters appear
15
Renewal of old acquaintance
27
The man with the weed makes it an even question whether he be a great sage or a great simpleton
36
At the outset of which certain passengers prove deaf to the call of charity
42
A gentleman with gold sleevebuttons
50
A charitable lady
61
The Cosmopolitan makes an acquaintance
196
Containing the metaphysics of Indianhating according to the views of one evidently not so prepossessed as Rousseau in favor of savages
203
Some account of a man of questionable morality but who nevertheless would seem entitled to the esteem of that eminent English moralist who said h...
215
Moot points touching the late Colonel John Moredock
221
The boon companions
227
Opening with a poetical eulogy of the Press and continuing with talk inspired by the same
238
A metamorphosis more surprising than any in Ovid
256
Showing that the age of magic and magicians is not yet over
257

Two business men transact a little business
65
In the cabin
73
Only a page or so
79
Story of the unfortunate man from which may be gathered whether or no he has been justly so entitled
82
The man with the travelingcap evinces much humanity and in a way which would see to show him to be one of the most logical of optimists
88
Worth the consideration of those to whom it may prove worth considering
94
An old miser upon suitable representations is prevailed upon to venture an investment
98
A sick man after some impatience is induced to become a patient
105
Towards the end of which the HerbDoctor proves himself a forgiver of injuries
116
Inquest into the true character of the HerbDoctor
124
A soldier of fortune
129
Reappearance of one who may be remembered
140
A hard case
146
In the polite spirit of the Tusculan disputations
157
In which the powerful effect of natural scenery is envinced in the case of the Missourian who in view of the region roundabout Cairo has a return of ...
180
A philanthropist undertakes to convert a misanthrope but does not get beyond confuting him
184
Which may pass for whatever it may prove to be worth
259
In which the Cosmopolitan tells the story of the gentlemanmadman
261
In which the Cosmopolitan strikingly evinces the artlessness of his nature
264
In which the Cosmopolitan is accosted by a mystic whereupon ensues pretty much such talk as might be expected
265
The mystical master introduces the practical disciple
277
The disciple unbends and consents to act a social part
281
The hypothetical friends
283
In which the story of China Aster is at secondhand told by one who while not disapproving the moral disclaims the spirit of the style
291
Ending with a rupture of the hypothesis
308
Upon the heel of the last scene the Cosmopolitan enters the barbers shop a benediction on his lips
312
Very charming
319
In which the last three words of the last chapter are made the text of the discourse which will be sure of receiving more or less attention from those re...
329
The Cosmopolitan increases in seriousness
332
The River
351
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick -- largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public -- was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.

Bibliographic information