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
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.
Originally published in 1953, Saul Bellow's modern picaresque tale grandly illustrates twentieth-century man's restless pursuit of an elusive meaning. Augie March, a young man growing up in Chicago during the Great Depression, doesn't understand success on other people's terms. Fleeing to Mexico in search of something to fill his restless soul and soothe his hunger for adventure, Augie latches on to a wild succession of occupations until his journey brings him full circle. Yet beneath Augie's carefree nature lies a reflective person with a strong sense of responsibility to both himself and others, who in the end achieves a success of his own making. A modern-day Columbus, Augie March is a man searching not for land but for self and soul and, ultimately, for his place in the world.
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.