-In The Confidence-Man, - writes John Bryant in his Introduction, -Melville found a way to render our tragic sense of self and society through the comic strategies of the confidence game. He puts the reader in the game to play its parts and to contemplate the inconsistencies of its knaves and fools.- Set on a Mississippi steamer on April Fool's Day and populated by a series of shape-shifting con men, The Confidence-Man is a challenging metaphysical and ethical exploration of antebellum American society. Set from the first American edition of 1857, this Modern Library paperback includes an Appendix with Bryant's innovative -fluid text- analysis of early manuscript fragments from Melville's novel.
About the Author
John Bryant is a professor of English at Hofstra University and the editor of the Melville Society's journal, Leviathan. He is the author of Melville and Repose and The Fluid Text. He is also the editor of Melville's Tales, Poems, and Other Writings, published by the Modern Library.
“The great transcendental satire.” —Carl Van Vechten