Humboldt's Gift

Bestseller Kindle

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

  1. Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago He attended the University of Chicago, received his Bachelor s degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.Mr Bellow s first novel, Dangling Man, was published in 1944, and his second, The Victim, in 1947 In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began The Adventures of Augie March,, which won the National Book Award for fiction in 1954 Later books include Seize The Day 1956 , Henderson The Rain King 1959 , Herzog 1964 , Mosby s Memoirs and Other Stories 1968 , and Mr Sammler s Planet 1970 Humboldt s Gift 1975 , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Both Herzog and Mr Sammler s Planet were awarded the National Book Award for fiction Mr Bellow s first non fiction work, To Jerusalem and Back A Personal Account, published on October 25,1976, is his personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975.In 1965 Mr Bellow was awarded the International Literary Prize for Herzog, becoming the first American to receive the prize In January 1968 the Republic of France awarded him the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by that nation to non citizens, and in March 1968 he received the B nai B rith Jewish Heritage Award for excellence in Jewish literature , and in November 1976 he was awarded the America s Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti Defamation League of B nai B rith, the first time this award was made to a literary personage.A playwright as well as a novelist, Saul Bellow was the author of The Last Analysis and of three short plays, collectively entitled Under the Weather, which were produced on Broadway in 1966 He contributed fiction to Partisan Review, Playboy, Harper s Bazaar, The New Yorker, Esquire, and to literary quarterlies His criticism appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Horizon, Encounter, The New Republic, The New Leader, and elsewhere During the 1967 Arab lsraeli conflict, he served as a war correspondent for Newsday He taught at Bard College, Princeton University, and the University of Minnesota, and was a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

640 Reply to “Humboldt's Gift”

  1. 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 [...]


  2. I m going to rave a little here Do forgive me in advance This is my second reading of this masterpiece It was shortly after publication of Humboldt s Gift that Bellow won the Nobel Prize That in itself usually doesn t mean much, mostly the literature awards are given out for political reasons these days, but I think in the case of Bellow Oslo got it right From the start the storytelling is brilliant and it never flags Charlie Citrine, a young man filled with a love of literature, writes to his h [...]


  3. Humboldt is a poet, once revered, eventually ridiculed Charlie Citrine, the narrator, was his acolyte, friend and enemy Citrine, of an inferior talent, enjoys much greater commercial success than Humboldt This anomaly is the foundation for much soul searching about the relationship between the artist and commercial success in America Humboldt fulfils society s most cherished expectation of the poet he goes nuts and dies ignominiously In other words, he s too delicate for this world Something we [...]


  4. In today s reality, if anybody wishes to taste life in America through the late thirties till the early seventies the turbulent days and the scintillating nights associated with it the glint and the glamour, the mirth and murder, affluence and privation going hand in gloves, I would recommend Humboldt s Gift by Saul Bellow Told in the first person narrative choice, this mammoth novel is mostly a chronology of the author s reminiscences, some of which are dramatically hectic, painfully poignant a [...]


  5. The labyrinthine mental processes of an exceptional man of letters challenging, uneven, extremely self conscious in the end, of course, literary I have snoozed through many a crisis while millions died laments our Hero Our overthinking, overcompensating, overwhelming hero He s a regular Danish prince indeed most of his life is seen through a Shakespearean filter that has to do with complications than tragedy or romance.There are amazing sentences and a wholly exuberant prose in this, a lauded P [...]


  6. Last night I dreamt that Saul Bellow was still alive, and that I met him Met him at the Chicago branch of something called the Hitler Piedmont Bank I know, I know, it was a dream, so it had to be a little fucked up I started to gush, but of all the phrases, characters and scenes of his that I admire, the only thing I praised was his description, in this novel, of Humboldt s mud bespattered station wagon as looking like a Flanders staff car.


  7. Roman a Clef a Trois Humboldt s Gift is generally recognised to be a roman a clef, in which the titular character is based on the poet Del Schwartz, an early friend and mentor of Saul Bellow.However, there are three levels at which the roman a clef operates within the novel itself.Firstly, Von Humboldt Fleisher accuses the narrator, Charlie Citrine, of using his life as the inspiration for his commercially successful play, Von Trenck which was later turned into a film I don t say he actually pla [...]


  8. I don t know what it is, but Bellow s books just go down easy for me I can and have read them in one or two or five very long sittings, enjoying myself enough to just refuse to take my eyes off the page There s something about his protagonists the nervy, learned, spunky, earthy, thoughtful and hyper attentive 30 40 year old males which seems to resonate with me over and over again I seriously thought about making a special category on my bookshelves for old drunk wannabe writer books and it IS a [...]


  9. Transcendental Profound Scholarly Challenging Invigorating Agile A literary treasure Citrine lives and breathes with the perspective of a real writer surging against great existential issues like Walt Whitman s ultimate question Humboldt is brilliant, pitiful, hilarious and, ultimately, victorious from the grave The gangster, Cantabile, is Citrine s cosmic foil the Dionysius of Nietzsche to Citrine s Apollo This is potentially a life altering work it can change your outlook on life and death Bel [...]


  10. It s interesting how passionate I get when I dislike a book Maybe I feel ripped off My expectations were high and that no doubt plays into it.The setup is interesting and has great potential A man is on a quest to make sense of his life in a world that s lost its way The theme Culture, the arts, advanced learning and thinking, the only raisons d tre for man s existence don t you know are being quashed by modern society and its trappings From the get go, there are quotes or mention of zillions of [...]


  11. Un romanzo come Il dono di Humboldt difficile da riassumere perch non ha una vera e propria trama Necessita di tempo per essere assimilato, capito e vissuto.E un lungo stream of consciousness, un flusso di coscienza di pensieri, di sensazioni, sentimenti e poesia E un lungo e denso monologo interiore, in cui i dialoghi sono brevi o quasi del tutto inesistenti.E un compendio di rapporti umani, di bellezza, di poesia, di letteratura, quella vera, pura e salvifica E l arte che si fa capolavoro e di [...]


  12. This is the first Bellow I have read and I enjoyed the experience It concerns Charlie Citrine, a chap in his 50s, a writer and intellectual who has an ongoing divorce, an unpredictable girlfriend, an acquaintance in the mob who decides he quite likes Charlie, various bloodsucking lawyers, friends who want money for hare brained schemes and his relationship with his old mentor now dead , the poet Von Humboldt Fleischer It is an erudite book with lots of ideas in play and Bellow has great fun with [...]


  13. Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally The CCLaP 100 In which I read for the first time a hundred so called literary classics, then write reports on whether or not they deserve the labelEssay 38 Humboldt s Gift 1975 , by Saul BellowThe story in a nutshell In good Postmodernist fashion, Saul Bellow s 1975 Humboldt s Gift is a semi autobiography of sorts, [...]


  14. Il tuo successo sempre il successo del denaroCi ho messo un po a mettere insieme tutti i pezzi, dopo la lettura di questo romanzo certamente interessante ma tutt altro che semplice.Tanti personaggi turbinano per seicento pagine nel flusso di pensieri solo in apparenza sconnessi di Charlie Citrine, uomo di lettere e commediografo di successo Tanti episodi interessanti, tanti aneddoti divertenti, tante trovate geniali, tanti ricordi, moltissime profonde riflessioni Ma ad una prima impressione mi d [...]


  15. andata cos stavo l a trastullarmi incurante di ogni tassonomia delle priorit narrative, indulgendo a prescindibili libri e lasciando la mia frequentazione di bellow ferma a un datato, piacevole ma non risolutivo augie march e a un recente, quello s fulminante, herzog finch un bel giorno il dio delle letture con qualche costrutto, titillato da un torneo virtuale tra romanzi ammmericani, ha deciso di fare di me una donna onesta e scagliando quaggi una saetta ZOT ha messo in testa a qualcuno l idea [...]


  16. There is not much need for me to review this book, as it is well known, and as I already wrote substantial reviews of Herzog and Sammler s As a young man, when I read this, I adored it 5 stars this time, I saw also its flaws 4 stars.All the threads of Herzog, Seize the Day, and Sammler come together here in near perfection near A picaresque comedy, Charlie Citrine is throroughly modern, and romps through the latter part of the 20th century, trying valiently like Harry Houdini Harry comes from Ch [...]


  17. Un onda che tutto travolge Impetuosa, ruggente, una tragica e comica nona sinfonia di Beethoven trascritta in forma di romanzoyoutube watch v tpGSz stringo con forza questo cordone ombelicale, e ti ringrazio I voli pindarici di Citrine sono i Miei voli pindarici i suoi castelli di carta sono i Miei castelli il suo rimorso per non avere avuto il coraggio di attraversare la strada e incontrare Von Humboldt Fleisher il Mio rimorso per non aver trovato quel coraggio Ci parla a tutti noi Bellow, e ci [...]


  18. When Charlie Citrine s, lover Renata said When you get to the story let me know, I m not big on philosophy, she hit the bullseye I have never before read a pretentious glob of self indulgent philosophizing, high brow name dropping, and conceited intellectualism You realize a novel isn t working when you catch yourself frequently checking how many pages remain I kept at it only out of respect for Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate Saul Bellow, as the author of the masterpiece The Adventure [...]


  19. Ogni testa un tribunaleCharles Citrine una figura emblematica di un sacco di cose intellettuale statunitense, ebreo russo di origine Tzitrin , brav uomo spolpato dall ex moglie, preda degli avvocati, amante appassionato ma superficiale di donna giovane e bella La lettura del libro mi ha suggerito il detto ogni testa un tribunale e quella di Citrine soprattutto, perch per tutto il libro ragiona sull estetica, la filosofia steineriana, sui suoi rapporti con le donne, con la famiglia amici e conosc [...]


  20. This novel is divided into sections of uneven length, each section probably best described as a chapter, unnumbered The narrative is in the first person, told by the writer Charlie Citrine, the erstwhile friend and prot g of Von Humboldt Fleisher, a poet whose greatest fame occurred in the Thirties, after which the friendship shattered as Humboldt s reputation declined and Charlie s rose The syntax, at the beginning, is simple declarative sentences, but it becomes far florid during long passage [...]


  21. I keep getting drawn back to Saul Bellow s novels like a crazy ass bee to a barren flower I must love the disappointment, the confusion, the frustration I m a literature masochist Bellow sees my eagerness, my dog like enthusiasm, beckons me in closerd then smacks me on the nose His novels are never truly satisfying they almost enrage me How could a man be so talented, such a great writer, and yet churn out such flawed books In truth, I don t know how to review Humbodt s Gift It defeats me Yet to [...]


  22. I mostly loved this novel, but there were spots of tedium here and there The novel starts out a bit slow to read, but as it gets into the action of the plot, the pace picks up The story takes place over a short span of time, but the narrator Charlie Citrine frequently recollects his past, giving temporal depth to the story The subject of much of his remembrance is his former mentor, Humboldt Fleisher, now deceased Their relationship was rocky, ended badly, and Charlie seems to be working through [...]


  23. I realize that most of the online reviews for this book are raves and so my 2 star review is abberant, however if I am honest that rating is higher than I actually want to give I am at a loss for reviewing it, but will give it a shot.1 I have been a reader my entire life and have multiple degrees and yet this book made me feel stupid Mr Bellow wrote this with so many odd mechanisms and intentionally poor grammar Not using commas throughout the book where words were written in list form drove me [...]


  24. When the idealism and pragmatism collide those are the ideals that get shattered In The Ark we were going to publish brilliant things Where were we to find such brilliancy We knew it must be there It was an insult to a civilized nation and to humankind to assume that it was not Everything possible must be done to restore the credit and authority of art, the seriousness of thought, the integrity of culture, the dignity of style It is better to be rich and healthy maintains the pragmatic doctrine [...]


  25. I almost gave up on this book because it was so annoying and I found no pleasure or interest whatsoever in any part of it including any of the characters, but I finished it for my brother I guesss I m glad I did, so that I can add it to my list and write a review having known that I did read the whole book and didn t miss anything in the last half that would change my opinion of the book I didn t learn anything and was confused at times This book was just not for me.


  26. What a shallow author He longs for a world that never was and is a wanna be for the ways things aren t The story is decent enough but the author really wrote the book to muse philosophically on the nature of life and to offer philosophical insights on the nature of mortality and offer a refutation to the Myth of Sisyphus This is where he fails miserably A good author should be able to dazzle you with his wit while baffling you with his bullshit This author or his characters are incredibly lackin [...]


  27. There are two graves left.You wouldn t want to buy mine, would you I m not going to lie around I m having myself cremated I need action I d rather go into the atmosphere Look for me in the weather reports Moreover I was convinced that there was nothing in the material world to account for the delicate desires and perceptions of human beings.I met to write a full review but too much time has past to write a good one, this is just a book about an author that fears culture and arts are dead, surro [...]


  28. I enjoyed the first half of this book Then it slowed down And then it felt like a different story a few hundred pages of any ol thing, issues repeatedly discussed by the angst ridden narrator the appearance of a diaphragm peaking out of a woman s luggage, for example and then finally we are treated to the explanation of the title Tighter editing would have helped, and did we really need lines like, In my private vocabulary she was a little nole me tangerine Lots of intellectual references, and i [...]


  29. The country is proud of its dead poets It takes terrific satisfaction in the poets testimony that the USA is too tough, too big, too much, too rugged, that American reality is overpowering And to be a poet is a school thing, a skirt thing, a church thing The weakness of the spiritual powers is proved in the childishness, madness, drunkenness, and despair of these martyrs Orpheus moved stones and trees But a poet can t perform a hysterectomy or send a vehicle out of the solar system Miracle and p [...]


  30. This was a fascinating typical Bellow novel about a self centered neurotic middle aged male from Chicago I felt it was less satisfying than Herzog or Augie March despite moments or brilliance I know it is considered one of the Great Novels of Bellow amd I enjoyed the characters and their existential questioning of the meanings of life and sex, but I found the narrative less compelling that the aforementioned classics by this spectacular author.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *