The Confidence-Man
Free

The Confidence-Man

By Herman Melville
Free
Book Description

A scathing, razor-sharp satire set on a New Orleansboundriverboat, The Confidence-Man exposesthe fraudulent optimism of so many American idolsand idealists?Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry DavidThoreau, and P. T. Barnum, in particular'and drawsa dark vision of a country being swallowed by itsillusions of progress. It begins with a mute boardinga Mississippi boat and ends without a conclusion:?Something further may follow of this Masquerade.'In between, the ?confidence man,? so well disguisedas to avoid clear identification even by the reader,meets and tricks a boatful of unusual characters.The culmination of Herman Melville's brilliant careeras a novelist, and the introduction of a particularlyAmerican brand of satire that is as caustic as it isfunny, The Confidence-Man creates an elaborate andneautiful masquerade that asks: who in this world isworth our confidence?

Table of Contents
  • THE CONFIDENCE-MAN: HIS MASQUERADE. BY HERMAN MELVILLE, AUTHOR OF "PIAZZA TALES," "OMOO," "TYPEE," ETC., ETC.
    • CONTENTS
  • THE CONFIDENCE-MAN: HIS MASQUERADE.
    • CHAPTER I. A MUTE GOES ABOARD A BOAT ON THE MISSISSIPPI.
    • CHAPTER II. SHOWING THAT MANY MEN HAVE MANY MINDS.
    • CHAPTER III. IN WHICH A VARIETY OF CHARACTERS APPEAR.
    • CHAPTER IV. RENEWAL OF OLD ACQUAINTANCE.
    • CHAPTER V THE MAN WITH THE WEED MAKES IT AN EVEN QUESTION WHETHER HE BE A GREAT SAGE OR A GREAT SIMPLETON.
    • CHAPTER VI. AT THE OUTSET OF WHICH CERTAIN PASSENGERS PROVE DEAF TO THE CALL OF CHARITY.
    • CHAPTER VII. A GENTLEMAN WITH GOLD SLEEVE-BUTTONS.
    • CHAPTER VIII. A CHARITABLE LADY.
    • CHAPTER IX. TWO BUSINESS MEN TRANSACT A LITTLE BUSINESS.
    • CHAPTER X. IN THE CABIN.
    • CHAPTER XI. ONLY A PAGE OR SO.
    • CHAPTER XII. STORY OF THE UNFORTUNATE MAN, FROM WHICH MAY BE GATHERED WHETHER OR NO HE HAS BEEN JUSTLY SO ENTITLED.
    • CHAPTER XIII. THE MAN WITH THE TRAVELING-CAP EVINCES MUCH HUMANITY, AND IN A WAY WHICH WOULD SEEM TO SHOW HIM TO BE ONE OF THE MOST LOGICAL OF OPTIMISTS.
    • CHAPTER XIV. WORTH THE CONSIDERATION OF THOSE TO WHOM IT MAY PROVE WORTH CONSIDERING.
    • CHAPTER XV. AN OLD MISER, UPON SUITABLE REPRESENTATIONS, IS PREVAILED UPON TO VENTURE AN INVESTMENT.
    • CHAPTER XVI. A SICK MAN, AFTER SOME IMPATIENCE, IS INDUCED TO BECOME A PATIENT
    • CHAPTER XVII. TOWARDS THE END OF WHICH THE HERB-DOCTOR PROVES HIMSELF A FORGIVER OF INJURIES.
    • CHAPTER XVIII. INQUEST INTO THE TRUE CHARACTER OF THE HERB-DOCTOR.
    • CHAPTER XIX. A SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.
    • CHAPTER XX. REAPPEARANCE OF ONE WHO MAY BE REMEMBERED.
    • CHAPTER XXI. A HARD CASE.
    • CHAPTER XXII. IN THE POLITE SPIRIT OF THE TUSCULAN DISPUTATIONS.
    • CHAPTER XXIII. IN WHICH THE POWERFUL EFFECT OF NATURAL SCENERY IS EVINCED IN THE CASE OF THE MISSOURIAN, WHO, IN VIEW OF THE REGION ROUND-ABOUT CAIRO, HAS A RETURN OF HIS CHILLY FIT.
    • CHAPTER XXIV. A PHILANTHROPIST UNDERTAKES TO CONVERT A MISANTHROPE, BUT DOES NOT GET BEYOND CONFUTING HIM.
    • CHAPTER XXV. THE COSMOPOLITAN MAKES AN ACQUAINTANCE.
    • CHAPTER XXVI. CONTAINING THE METAPHYSICS OF INDIAN-HATING, ACCORDING TO THE VIEWS OF ONE EVIDENTLY NOT SO PREPOSSESSED AS ROUSSEAU IN FAVOR OF SAVAGES.
    • CHAPTER XXVII. SOME ACCOUNT OF A MAN OF QUESTIONABLE MORALITY, BUT WHO, NEVERTHELESS, WOULD SEEM ENTITLED TO THE ESTEEM OF THAT EMINENT ENGLISH MORALIST WHO SAID HE LIKED A GOOD HATER.
    • CHAPTER XXVIII. MOOT POINTS TOUCHING THE LATE COLONEL JOHN MOREDOCK.
    • CHAPTER XXIX THE BOON COMPANIONS.
    • CHAPTER XXX. OPENING WITH A POETICAL EULOGY OF THE PRESS AND CONTINUING WITH TALK INSPIRED BY THE SAME.
    • CHAPTER XXXI. A METAMORPHOSIS MORE SURPRISING THAN ANY IN OVID.
    • CHAPTER XXXII. SHOWING THAT THE AGE OF MAGIC AND MAGICIANS IS NOT YET OVER.
    • CHAPTER XXXIII. WHICH MAY PASS FOR WHATEVER IT MAY PROVE TO BE WORTH.
    • CHAPTER XXXIV. IN WHICH THE COSMOPOLITAN TELLS THE STORY OF THE GENTLEMAN MADMAN.
    • CHAPTER XXXV. IN WHICH THE COSMOPOLITAN STRIKINGLY EVINCES THE ARTLESSNESS OF HIS NATURE.
    • CHAPTER XXXVI. IN WHICH THE COSMOPOLITAN IS ACCOSTED BY A MYSTIC, WHEREUPON ENSUES PRETTY MUCH SUCH TALK AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED.
    • CHAPTER XXXVII THE MYSTICAL MASTER INTRODUCES THE PRACTICAL DISCIPLE.
    • CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE DISCIPLE UNBENDS, AND CONSENTS TO ACT A SOCIAL PART.
    • CHAPTER XXXIX. THE HYPOTHETICAL FRIENDS.
    • CHAPTER XL. IN WHICH THE STORY OF CHINA ASTER IS AT SECOND-HAND TOLD BY ONE WHO, WHILE NOT DISAPPROVING THE MORAL, DISCLAIMS THE SPIRIT OF THE STYLE.
    • CHAPTER XLI. ENDING WITH A RUPTURE OF THE HYPOTHESIS.
    • CHAPTER XLII. UPON THE HEEL OF THE LAST SCENE THE COSMOPOLITAN ENTERS THE BARBER'S SHOP, A BENEDICTION ON HIS LIPS.
    • CHAPTER XLIII VERY CHARMING.
    • CHAPTER XLIV. IN WHICH THE LAST THREE WORDS OF THE LAST CHAPTER ARE MADE THE TEXT OF DISCOURSE, WHICH WILL BE SURE OF RECEIVING MORE OR LESS ATTENTION FROM THOSE READERS WHO DO NOT SKIP IT.
    • CHAPTER XLV. THE COSMOPOLITAN INCREASES IN SERIOUSNESS.
    • Transcriber's Note and Errata
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