DISCOURSE as quilting

Welcome to the intersection of P. L. Thomas writing about his writing and other writers' writing to explore discourse as quilting.

remnant 50: “I would prefer not to”

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When asked by Mario Batali in The Batali Inquisition “Who is your favorite literary character?” Michael Stipe replied: Bartleby, the Scrivener:

In this very attitude did I sit when I called to him, rapidly stating what it was I wanted him to do–namely, to examine a small paper with me. Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, “I would prefer not to.”

I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the clearest tone I could assume. But in quite as clear a one came the previous reply, “I would prefer not to.”

“Prefer not to,” echoed I, rising in high excitement, and crossing the room with a stride. “What do you mean? Are you moon-struck? I want you to help me compare this sheet here–take it,” and I thrust it towards him.

“I would prefer not to,” said he….

Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity! (Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street, Herman Melville)

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street, Herman Melville

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Written by plthomasedd

January 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm

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