A scathing, razor-sharp satire set on a New Orleans-bound riverboat, The Confidence-Man exposes the fraudulent optimism of so many American idols and idealists -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and P. T. Barnum, in particular -- and draws a dark vision of a country being swallowed by its illusions of progress.Why is Dalkey Archive doing yet another edition of The Confidence-Man? And why is it doing Melville at all? First, this edition, originally published by Bobbs-Merrill over forty years ago, contains remarkable annotations by H. Bruce Franklin, intended for both the general reader and the scholar. It's an edition we have long admired. More importantly, we believe that The Confidence-Man is America's first postmodern novel -- game-like, darkly comic, and completely inventive.