‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’ Reading at Occupy Wall Street

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By Maryann Yin Comment

Yesterday, 27 readers and Occupy Wall Street supporters staged an outdoor reading of Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville at Zuccotti Park. Follow this link to download a free eBook copy of the novella.

The free event was organized by the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe events staff, McNally Jackson’s Sam MacLaughlin and The Gospel of Anarchy author Justin Taylor. According to Housing Works’ director of public programming Amanda Bullock, Bartleby‘s story resonates quite well with the mission of the OWS protest because it’s set on Wall Street, talks about passive resistance and “question[s] the assumed hierarchy.”

In an email, Taylor further explained why he chose Bartleby: “I want to evoke the long history of refusal that informs and enlivens OWS. Some in the movement may already have a vivid sense of that history, others may be getting involved in politics (or outing themselves as progressives) for the first time in their lives, but in any case I think it’s healthy to be reminded that the first step toward building a better world is asserting that the present state of affairs is intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue.”

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