I would prefer not to.

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Even more obvious since the May Day protests, OWS owes a debt to Herman Melville--particularly relevant is the observation that "Bartleby was the first laid-off worker to occupy Wall Street:"

And the way that Melville represents Bartleby's occupation can help us understand the power of the endlessly intriguing movement that is promising to return with renewed fervor this spring. What's more, this staple of the English Literature curriculum can speak to the ways that Wall Street itself is coming to occupy the classroom itself.

If you haven't read the novella already, I recommend this edition. Melville House Press offers an intriguing illuminated edition, and comments here that, passive protestations aside, "Bartleby is not idle:"

Instead he is invoking what Melville believed to be the most powerful of stances: dissent. Bartleby is peacefully defying those that believe their will is stronger than his. [...] Bartleby thus becomes the ideal and most realistic patron-saint of a movement like Occupy, which strives above all things to say "no" to the assumed course of action.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 1, 2012 11:05 AM.

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