Charity, Melancholy, and the Protestant Ethic in Herman Melville’s Bartleby and Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

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Abstract

Relying on Max Weber’s and Colin Campbell’s description of the Spirit of Capitalism, I plan to interpret the narrators of Melville’s Bartleby and Cock-A-Doodle-Doo! as embodying two com- plementary aspects of the same ethical attitude informing such spirit. This is characterized by the oscillation between sentimentalism and individualism, charity and egoism, idealism and pragmatism, which Melville detected in the everyman of his time. In particular, I will focus on the references to the theological debate on free will and to the theme of melancholy as pivotal elements to comprehend Melville’s insight. Finally, I will show how Merrymusk and Bartleby, the two other main characters of the stories, may be seen as representing Melville’s attempt to question the American society of his time.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)29-44
Numero di pagine16
RivistaL'ANALISI LINGUISTICA E LETTERARIA
Volume25
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017

Keywords

  • Bartleby
  • Campbell, Colin
  • Capitalism
  • Charity
  • Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!
  • Edwards, Jonathan
  • Melancholy
  • Melville, Herman
  • Priestley, Joseph
  • Protestant Ethic
  • Theology
  • Weber, Max

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