The Bartleby Syndrome

May 18, 2021 3 min read
The Bartleby Syndrome

A term coined by Enrique Vila-Matas and used in his book, Bartleby and co., inspired by one of Herman Melville’s characters, the Bartlebly Syndrome is used to describe authors who hate their works.

This so-called Bartleby Syndrome is different from the idea that there’s beauty in imperfection, the way Michelangelo would often let a small surface of his sculptures unfinished ( for instance David’s top of the head is not polished). This is not some kind of post-modern irony, or the inherent disapproval of classicism inherent in today’s artists, this is a rather nefarious aftermath of crippling self-doubt, listening to an inner voice that becomes a tyrant.

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