Bestseller Kindle Humboldt's Gift published The novel, for which Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976, is a self described comic book about death, whose title character is modeled on the self destructive lyric poet Del Schwartz Charlie Citrine, an intellectual, middle aged author of award winning biographies and plays, contemplates two significant figures and philosophies in his life Von HumboldThe novel, for which Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976, is a self described comic book about death, whose title character is modeled on the self destructive lyric poet Del Schwartz Charlie Citrine, an intellectual, middle aged author of award winning biographies and plays, contemplates two significant figures and philosophies in his life Von Humboldt Fleisher, a dead poet who had been his mentor, and Rinaldo Cantabile, a very much alive minor mafioso who has been the bane of Humboldt s existence Humboldt had taught Charlie that art is powerful and that one should be true to one s creative spirit Rinaldo, Charlie s self appointed financial adviser, has always urged Charlie to use his art to turn a profit At the novel s end, Charlie has managed to set his own course.. Bestseller Ebook Humboldt's Gift "Wrestling match between Vita Contemplativa and Vita Activa" Let’s be honest! Humboldt’s Gift is exhausting. It is a masterpiece, a brilliant study of a man fighting the world and his inner demons by withdrawing from active participation, but it leaves the reader frequently frustrated with the narrator, Charles Citrine, and his non-response to the problems he causes by contemplating life rather than living it actively. Using a similar idea to the one explored in Dangling Man, it goes further, showing a person who is not forced to passivity due to external circumstances, but one who chooses to be passive because he rejects the mechanisms of modern life.The dramatic conflict is inherent in the choice of character and setting: a man who loves poetry and aesthetic life spends his time in Chicago. That, he recognises himself, is a contradiction, an oxymoron. But he does not break free from the pattern. He rather accepts it as the raw material he has to work with:"Such information about corruption, if you had grown up in Chicago, was easy to accept. It even satisfied a certain need. It harmonized with one's Chicago view of society."Crookedness is an art form, invented in America, the narrator reflects, watching his fellow citizens engage in an epic fight to win the fame and fortune they think they are entitled to. All means are justified, even celebrated:"They listened with joy as he told his tale of unhappiness and persecution. He spilled dirt, spread scandal, and uttered powerful metaphors. What a combination! Fame gossip delusion filth and poetic invention.Even then shrewd Humboldt knew what he was worth in professional New York."Bellow indeed delivers a brilliant study of grown-up men playing gangsters and hurt poets, putting on a very loud and visible show, like three-year-olds howling and showing off their scraped knees. But the narrator refuses to play the game. He gets bored, even thinks of writing a study on the impact of boredom on world history:"Boredom is an instrument of social control. Power is the power to impose boredom, to command stasis, to combine this stasis with anguish. The real tedium, deep tedium, is seasoned with terror and with death."This boredom that he can’t shake off in the presence of his overactive environment makes him an easy target for more energetic people, celebrating the spirit of money that is a symbol for modern-day America. His ex-wife plays a court game with him that makes "Jarndyce and Jarndyce" in Bleak House look harmless. Perpetuation of the case is her ultimate goal, and Citrine can’t do anything to stop her. His girlfriend wants to marry him, and plays a seduction game, while using up his last financial resources and dumping him when he has lost his money. Nothing he can do but mourn. Passively taking the blow, he hides in a pension to meditate and search for contact with the spiritual world, which is the only one he can control and shape according to his aesthetic needs. His relationship to his brother is equally based on the contrast between active and contemplative interpretation of the world. He is the thinker, the romantic who cherishes family relations without financial or dynastic ideas, whereas his brother is the incorporation of the successful American business man, always needing an immediate purpose, and an adversary to fight in order to release his energies:"This visit of mine, with its intimations of final parting, bothered him. He acknowledged that I had done right to come but he loathed me for it, too. I could see it his way. Why did I come flapping around him with my love, like a death-pest? There was no way for me to win, because if I hadn't come here he'd have held it against me. He needed to be wronged. He luxuriated in anger, and he kept accounts."Not even his poet friend Humboldt responds to Charles Citrine’s need for passive, intellectual friendship. After an act of impulsive brotherhood, including a blank cheque exchange, Humboldt cashes in thousands of dollars from Citrine, whereas he himself puts Humboldt’s cheque in a drawer, from where it disappears at some point. He does nothing about it.Money flows out of his hands incessantly, and he is not capable to negotiate for himself without the support from his overactive part-time friends, thus demonstrating the flaw in his worldview. The most colourful character in this respect is Rinaldo Cantabile, a typical gangster with a (crooked) heart, who strongly reminded me of Mack and the boys in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, even though Cantabile plays a bigger game. In his annoying habit of disturbing Citrine’s contemplations, he is similar to Mack’s insistence on making life better for Doc, thus getting him from bad to worse instead:"You?" I said."Yes", said Rinaldo Cantabile, "[...] You thought I was in jail.""Thought, and wished. And hoped. How did you track me here, and what do you want?""You're sore at me. Okay, I admit that was a bad scene. But I am here to make up for it.""Was that the purpose in coming here? What you can do for me is go away. I'd like that best."What Citrine really wants for himself is a world immersed in literature and poetry. His reaction to everyday annoyances is always accompanied by a comparison to his favourite authors. Frustrated with being stuck with Cantabile in traffic, he transforms the experience into an adaptation of T.S.Eliot:"The Thunderbird, puffing fumes, was beginning to block traffic. Because I had been immersed for much of the day in Humboldt's life, and because Humboldt had in turn been immersed in T.S. Eliot, I thought as he might have done of the violet hour when the human engine waits like a taxi throbbing, waiting. But I cut this out. The moment required my full presence."He has the same impulse when his girlfriend leaves him, but realises that it is of no use to explode in metaphorical language to express and soothe his hurt feelings:"What good would it do me to tell Renata off? Fierce and exquisite speeches, perfect in logic, mature in judgment, deep in wise rage, heavenly in poetry, were all right for Shakespeare but they wouldn't do a damn bit of good for me. The desire for emission still existed but the reception was lacking for my passionate speech."The contemplative life Citrine wishes to lead is not compatible with the reality he faces, and in the end, he needs the help of his friend Humboldt, from beyond the grave, to get out of the massive trouble his detachment from the world has brought. Humboldt, being able to merge the active and contemplative life into a complete experience, messy but rich, takes the active steps required to turn artistic ideas and sketches into real successes. In the end, it gives Citrine the opportunity to clear up his business before retiring to the hermitage of his preference.What is the message of the novel? The frustration of a creative man in an environment of business and over-activity? The search for truth underneath the surface of celebrated crime and crookedness? Or the fundamental right to leave the circus if you find it boring in its showy repetitiveness?I changed my mind several times over the course of the slow reading. I am not sure I have a definite answer yet. I will be retreating to my cave to think.
Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow Humboldt s Gift is exhausting It is a masterpiece, a brilliant study of a man fighting the world and his inner demons by withdrawing from active participation, but it leaves the reader frequently frustrated with the narrator, Charles Citrine, and his non response to the problems he causes by contemplating life rather than living it actively. Humboldt s Gift Penguin Classics Bellow, Saul The Pulitzer winner for fiction and Saul Bellow s best work my opinion of course , Humboldt s Gift is a literary masterpiece. Humboldt s Gift Saul Bellow First Edition Humboldt s Gift New York The Viking Press, First Edition Hard Cover vo over tall Good Near Fine Item ISBN Signed by author on opening blank specially inserted by publisher True first edition, first printing of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow The Viking Press Hardcover POOR Noticeably used book Heavy wear to cover Pages contain marginal notes, underlining, and or highlighting Possible ex library copy, with all the markings stickers of that library Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, and dust jackets may not be included. Humboldt s Gift novel by Bellow Britannica Humboldt s Gift, novel by Saul Bellow, published in The novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in , is a self described comic book about death whose title character is modeled on the self destructive lyric poet Del Schwartz. Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow ISBN ISBN Paperback New York Avon, ISBN Humboldt s Gift Kindle edition by Bellow, Saul Humboldt s gift appears as his talents His writing brought him many accolades and personal connections He was a candle burning brightly and psychosis led to alcoholism and he died youngish from his illness with the added fuel of gin Humboldt s mother named him from a