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The Adventures of Augie Marchby Saul Bellow
Synopses & Reviews
Among the names in the papers in 1953-from Khrushchev to Charlie Chaplin, from Dwight Eisenhower to the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth-was Saul Bellow's, whose The Adventures of Augie March attracted enormous attention for its fresh, bold, exhilarating voice and thrust Saul Bellow into the international literary limelight.
Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication, Viking is reissuing Bellow's landmark novel in a beautiful new hardcover edition, with an introduction by Christopher Hitchens. The Adventures of Augie March set the stage for Bellow's Nobel Prize Award in 1976 and established him as a crucial voice that demanded to be heard. Fifty years later, it remains the best loved of Bellow's works as new readers discover this vital, truly American masterpiece.
"The best postwar American novel, The Adventures of Augie March magnificently terminates and fulfills the line of Melville, Twain, and Whitman." James Wood, The New Republic
"The Adventures of Augie March is the Great American Novel. Search no further. All the trails went cold 42 years ago. The quest did what quests very rarely do; it ended." Martin Amis, The Atlantic Monthly
"Not much in Bellow's preceding work prepared readers for The Adventures of Augie March. It's not necessary to believe, as I do, that the novel is the summit of his career...but let's call Augie his gold standard." Christopher Hitchens, from his Introduction
The Adventures of Augie March set the stage for Bellow's Nobel Prize Award in 1976 and established him as a crucial voice that demanded to be heard. Fifty years later, it remains the best loved of Bellow's works as new readers discover this vital, truly American masterpiece.
As soon as it first appeared in 1953, this gem by the great Saul Bellow was hailed as an American classic. Bold, expansive, and keenly humorous, The Adventures of Augie March blends street language with literary elegance to tell the story of a poor Chicago boy growing up during the Great Depression. A "born recruit," Augie makes himself available for hire by plungers, schemers, risk takers, and operators, compiling a record of choices that is—to say the least—eccentric.
A trio of short works by the Nobel laureate and "greatest writer of American prose of the twentieth century" (James Wood, The New Republic)
While Saul Bellow is known best for his longer fiction in award-winning novels such as The Adventures of Augie March and Herzog, Something to Remember Me By will draw new readers to Bellow as it showcases his extraordinary gift for creating memorable characters within a smaller canvas.
The loss of a ring in A Theft helps an oft-married woman understand her own wisdom and capacity for love. In The Bellarosa Connection, Harry Fonstein has escaped from Nazi brutality with the help of an underground organization masterminded by the legendary Broadway impresario Billy Rose, and his story continues in America . In the title story, seventeen-year-old Louie—whose mother is dying of cancer—strays far from home and finds not solace but humiliation and, ultimately, the blessing of his father's wrath.
About the Author
Praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose, Saul Bellow was born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Marines.
His first two novels, Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim (1947) are penetrating, Kafka-like psychological studies. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began his picaresque novel The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954. His later books of fiction include Seize the Day (1956); Henderson the Rain King (1959); Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968); Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970); Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize; The Dean's December (1982); More Die of Heartbreak (1987); Theft (1988); The Bellarosa Connection (1989); The Actual (1996); Ravelstein (2000); and, most recently, Collected Stories (2001). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.
Bellow's many awards include the International Literary Prize for Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."
A long-time resident of Chicago, Mr. Bellow now lives in New England.
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