Abstract

This article explores how Herman Melville uses the elegant structure of the April Fool’s Day prank to anticipate not only the critical and commercial failure of his final novel in 1857, but also the proclivities of the twentieth-century literary scholar. The Confidence-Man simultaneously invites and defies the many attempts to read it as allegory and, through a series of increasingly antagonistic metafictional interludes, Melville’s narrator berates his imagined reader and, vicariously, all his readers for their delusional expectations, hypocritical standards, and otherwise irrational reading habits.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2155-7888
Print ISSN
2168-0604
Pages
pp. 73-92
Launched on MUSE
2016-06-28
Open Access
No
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