An article in a newspaper was deleted leaving only the letters that make up the phrase I would prefer not to. This phrase is constantly repeated by the scrivener Bartleby in the homonymous short story written by Herman Melville in 1854. The story was first published anonymously, in two parts, in the journal Putnam’s Magazine in 1853, and was later included in the collection The Piazza Tales in 1856 with minor textual variations. Apparently the work was inspired by Melville’s reading of Emerson, since were found parallels with the essay by Emerson The Transcendentalist.
Bartleby the Scrivener is one of the most famous tales of the North American literature and it is considered a forerunner of existentialist literature, even though he had no fortune at the time of its publication. Bartleby The Scrivener anticipates many of the themes of the work of Franz Kafka as for example The Trial. Albert Camus quotes Melville as one of his main influences.
The phrase I would prefer not to, (constantly repeated by Bartleby who asked him to take any action) comes out from the newspaper through the deletion of information and the account of the actions carried out by other.