"What I Call a Wordy Man:" The Effects of Texts in Melville's The Confidence-Man
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis paper examines the function of physical texts and the power of language itself in Herman Melville's 1857 novel The Confidence-Man. Throughout the novel, physical texts cause drastic changes in behavior and comportment in the characters who encounter them. Physical texts also function as a seemingly immutable signifier of authenticity and identity, but Melville later renders physical texts mutable and impossible to authenticate. The uncertain relationship between Melville's narrator and the novel itself calls into question the problem of documentation in the world outside of the novel.
Degree ProgramHonors College