--Establishes the place of The Confidence-Man in the body of Melville's work, and traces the history of its critical reception.

--Sets out the interpretive basis of the current project.

--Discusses the ways in which The Confidence-Man anticipates and meshes with the medium of hypertext.

Texts Used

Melville, Herman. The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade. New York: Dix & Edwards, 1857. Online Version: Scott Atkins, ed. 1996. Abbreviated--CM.

Melville, Herman. "Hawthorne and His Mosses." Online Version: Scott Atkins, 1996. Abbr.--HM.

Melville, Herman. Billy Budd, Sailor. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Hershel Parker, ed. New York: Norton, 1989. 1038-1093. Abbr.-- BB.

Notes to Introduction

[1] Edgar Dryden, Melville's Thematics of Form: the Great Art of Telling the Truth (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1968) 29.

[2] Newton Arvin, Herman Melville (New York: The Viking Press, 1957) 233.

[3] Elizabeth Foster cites as the cause the "gathering financial panic of 1857" (Foster, xxxi) while John Seelye gives a reason I personally prefer to believe: that it was "due to the finagling of one of the partners" (Introduction, The Confidence-Man, 1968).

[4] Raymond M. Weaver, Herman Melville, Mariner and Mystic (New York: 1921). Carl Van Vechten, "The Later Works of Herman Melville." The Double Dealer 3 (Jan., 1922), 9-20. [Van Wyck Brooks], "A Reviewer's Notebook." The Freeman 7 (May 9, 1923), 214-215. John Freeman, Herman Melville (London: 1926). Lewis Mumford, Herman Melville (New York: 1929) 247-255. Yvor Winters, Maule's Curse (Norfolk: 1938) 82- 85. Newton Arvin, Herman Melville.

[5] Two works of this sort are: Susan Kuhlmann, Knave, Fool, Genius: The Confidence Man as He Appears in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 1973); Gary Lindberg, The Confidence- Man in American Literature (New York: Oxford UP, 1982).

[6] H. Bruce Franklin, The Wake of the Gods: Melville's Mythology (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1963) 153-87.

[7] Dryden, Melville's Thematics of Form. Abbreviated within subsequent text as MTF.

[8] A. Robert Lee, "Voices Off, On, and Without: Ventriloquy in 'The Confidence-Man.'" Herman Melville: Reassessments. Ed. A. Robert Lee. (Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1984) 157-175.

[9] Gustaaf Van Cromphout, "The Confidence- Man and the Problem of Others." Studies in American Fiction 21 (Spr. 1993): 37-50.

[10] Franklin, Introduction, The Confidence-Man (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967) xix.

[11] Martin Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art," trans. Albert Hofstadter, Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993) 182, 185.

[12] For a treatment of Melville's "ventriloquy," see Lee 157- 175.

[14] Newton Arvin, in his biography of Melville, refers to it as a "montone of blackness." Herman Melville: A Critical Biography (New York: The Viking Press, 1957).

[15] Richard Boyd Hauck, "Nine Good Jokes: The Redemptive Humor of the Confidence Man and The Confidence Man." Ruined Eden of the Present: Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe. Eds. G.R. Thompson and Virgil Lokke (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue UP, 1981) 245-282.

[16] Gary Lindberg writes in regard to the story of "man with the weed": "To give us our first lesson in what stories mean, the narrator omits the content and presents instead the transaction for which the story serves as instrument." The Confidence-Man in American Literature (New York: Oxford UP, 1982) 29.

[17] Van Cromphout, 45.

[18] Hauck, A Cheerful Nihilism (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana UP, 1971) 77.

[19] The Republic. Trans. G.M.A. Grube (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1974) X, 247.

[20] Franklin, ed., The Confidence-Man 172 n.

[21] Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Doestoevsky's Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984). Bakhtin's point is especially interesting because it comes in his treatment of the "serio- comic" genres--specifically the "Socratic Dialog" and the "Menippean Satire"--out of which, he argues, the novel developed. The "dialogic" and satirical form of the whole of The Confidence-Man would seem to suggest the fruitfulness of further study along these lines.

[22] M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (New York: Norton, 1973) Chp. 2, 102-103. Abbreviated--NS.

[23] The "mephitic breeze" around Cairo was, at the time Melville wrote, notorious, having been popularized most (in)famously as "Eden" in Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit (1844).

[24] Franklin notes, "From here on no avatar of the Confidence Man will appear as listed by the Negro 'widout massa,' Black Guinea...." 180, n.

[25] Hauck, "Nine Good Jokes," 280.

[26] Hershel Parker, "The Metaphysics of Indian-hating." In The Confidence-Man, Hershel Parker, ed. (New York: Norton, 1971) 323- 331.

[27] Peter J. Bellis makes much the same point in "Melville's The Confidence Man: An Uncharitable Interpretation." American Literature 59 (Dec. 1987) 553.

[28] The use of "smoke as a mask" is pointed out by Franklin, 183n.

[29] Franklin, 331n.

[30] Bellis, 551.

[31] Lee, 160.

[32] Van Cromphout, 37.

[33] George Landow, Hypertext (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1984).


scott eric atkins ||| sea2u@virginia