Bartleby prefers not to write this recap, but instead to stand with his hat bunched in fist, staring at the light shaft the window looks out upon. His passion for copywriting is heightened at the beginning, he pours everything into it. And then, he is asked to help review someone’s work, and he prefers not to, then prefers not to do much of anything, especially leave the premises.
Supporting characters are Turkey (placid in the morning, drunk in afternoon), Nippers (irritable in the morning, mild in the afternoon), and Ginger Nut the errand boy sent out for cakes. And of course, the narrator, a 60ish old lawyer who is captivated by Bartleby, then attempts eviction, then moves his offices to be rid of him, then visits him in jail only to find him dead. The narrator is also pretty pompous:
I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor’s good opinion.
Second read, but the first via paper, this is a great edition.