The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Paperback)
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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.
About the Author
Herman Melville (1819-1891), novelist and poet, was born in New York City. Working with Romantic materials of primitivism, individualism, nature and the Gothic, Melville produced a body of fiction that analyzed reality in both its social and metaphysical dimensions. He is best known for his masterpiece, Moby Dick.
Stephen Matterson is Head of the English Department at Trinity College, Dublin.