Bartleby The Scrivener, A Story of Wall Street is among the most famous of American short stories, penned by Herman Melville in 1853 for Putnam’s Magazine. It has been considered a precursor to existentialist and absurdist literature although the story was not very popular at the time it was published. Bartleby is recognized for confronting timeless themes of modernity, nihilism, industrialization, identity and existentialism which modern writers continue to explore.
Intended for the story’s 21st century re-printing, the design targets the tale's emotional tension fueled by the painfully slow passing of time and the claustrophobic environment characterized by the impeding architectural frenzy of New York City. The protagonist's aggravating ambivalence, often felt as oppressive as the surrounding metropolitan cityscape, is imprinted on the reader by a heavy sans serif and the absence of typographical nuance.