The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)

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On April Fool's Day in 1856, a shape-shifting grifter boards a Mississippi riverboat to expose the pretenses, hypocrisies, and self-delusions of his fellow passengers. The con artist assumes numerous identities -- a disabled beggar, a charity fundraiser, a successful businessman, an urbane gentleman -- to win over his not-entirely-innocent dupes. The central character's shifting identities, as fluid as the river itself, reflect broader aspects of human identity even as his impudent hoaxes form a meditation on illusion and trust.
This comic allegory addresses themes of sincerity, character, and morality in its challenge to the optimism and materialism of mid-19th-century America. By the time of its publication, readers had pigeonholed Herman Melville as a writer of adventure yarns. The novel was completely misunderstood by the author's contemporaries, and its financial failure drove him away from fiction. With the passage of time, however, The Confidence-Man has come to be recognized for its stunningly modern techniques and its indictment of the dark side of the American dream.

About the Author

Herman Melville (1819-1891) found early success with stories inspired by his adventures in the South Seas. His fortunes declined with the 1851 publication of Moby-Dick, now recognized as a masterpiece but scorned by Melville's contemporaries. The author was obliged to work as a New York City customs inspector and died in obscurity, three decades before the critical reassessment of his work.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780486817514
ISBN-10: 0486817512
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication Date: November 15th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English
Series: Dover Thrift Editions