Abstract

Abstract:

Largely ignored on its publication in 1857 and resuscitated in the second half of the twentieth century, especially by the political insights of the 1960s, The Confidence-Man in recent years has been repeatedly invoked as a cultural touchstone in the era of Donald Trump. Yet Melville's satire both invites and tests such recognitions, acknowledging their satisfactions but also indicating their limits. In the final scene, an old man scrutinizes his bills in search of the figure of a tiny, elusive goose that his Counterfeit Detector assures him will authenticate his currency. Linking the telltale goose to the figure of Napoleon hidden in nineteenth-century puzzle prints, Melville reflects on how attention can be directed, deflected, and extended and on the validations that readers seek.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
pp. 11-23
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-30
Open Access
No
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