The Adventures of Augie March

Popular The Adventures of Augie March By Saul Bellow Christopher Hitche

Popular The Adventures of Augie March By Saul Bellow Christopher Hitchens am Ebook 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.. Augie comes on stage with one of literature s most famous opening lines I am an American, Chicago born, and go at things as I have taught myself, free style, and will make the record in my own way first to knock, first admitted It s the Call me Ishmael of mid 20th century American fiction For the record, Bellow was born in Canada Or it would be if Ishmael had beAugie comes on stage with one of literature s most famous opening lines I am an American, Chicago born, and go at things as I have taught myself, free style, and will make the record in my own way first to knock, first admitted It s the Call me Ishmael of mid 20th century American fiction For the record, Bellow was born in Canada Or it would be if Ishmael had been like Tom Jones with a philosophical disposition With this teeming book Bellow returned a Dickensian richness to the American novel As he makes his way to a full brimming consciousness of himself, Augie careens through numberless occupations and countless mentors and exemplars, all the while enchanting us with the slapdash American music of his voice.. The best Books The Adventures of Augie March Original Review:In Pursuit of ExuberanceI first read this in the mid-to-late 70's.For a long time, I would have rated Bellow as one of my favourite three to five authors and Augie as one of my top three novels.I haven't re-read it, but intend to. I am working from long distant memories now, but what I loved about it was the sense of exuberance and dynamism. At that time, it meant a lot to me to find evidence that intellect and vitality could be combined in one person.It doesn't concern me so much now that I have found a level of comfort with my inner dork.2013 Re-Read:Busy Thinking Doing BeingThis is a novel by and about a thinking man.In saying this, I’m conscious of the inadequacy of the English language (or my command of it) to make my statement gender neutral.I don’t want to say "thinking person" or "thinking human" or "thinking human being". These phrases are too ponderous and artificial.I am willing, however, to call Augie March a "thinking being", because I want to go one step further and say he is a "thinking doing being".And then to say, paraphrasing Bob Dylan, that he not busy thinking doing being is busy dying.What I love about this novel is just how much Augie March gets up to during his [incomplete] life, how much thinking and learning, how much living and loving he does, while simultaneously defying his mortality and death.For me, he is the epitome of a special brand of intellectual and personal dynamism. And this is one of my favourite novels.A Quest with a RequestThis review is an invitation to read a Great American Novel, but with a few caveats about length and style for some readers.The novel is 536 pages long. It consists of 26 complete, well-defined chapters, but it doesn’t follow any preconceived linear plot. It contains a hero, in fact, many heroes, but it doesn’t consist of a traditional three act hero’s journey.It’s not precisely crafted in the sense that what we read, the life experiences, have been heavily edited, abridged, distilled and selected, so that much life has been left out and what remains is the bare minimum the author could say.Instead, much, much life has been left in, and what’s been said about that life is precisely crafted. It’s what Bellow needed and wanted to say about everything around him.Bellow didn’t invite us into a cinema, sit us in a seat, turn out the lights and exclude the outside world, so that we could focus on his art.Instead, he removed the ceiling, the walls and all of the obstacles that might block our sight, so that we could see and experience the real world, real people and real life. The book teems with reality, with realism, so much so that Bellow’s brother, Maurice, refused to speak to him for five years after its publication.This novel, this filmic experience, this thought process might be longer than what is conventional. If that bothers you, this might not be the book for you. But if it doesn’t, then, like me, you might find it one of the most rewarding reading experiences of your life.A Smorgasbord, Not for the Smorgasbored“Augie March” is a smorgasbord, not a TV dinner. It’s not pre-packaged and pre-digested. It invites you to focus and observe and think and enjoy.It’s expansive, sprawling, discursive, in the sense of "fluent and expansive rather than formulaic or abbreviated". Sometimes, it seems to be a directionless wander, other times a wild ride. Augie is a wonder boy with a wanderlust. But at all times, Augie’s quest is singular, like Christopher Columbus, to discover America, the world, and through it, himself. You might not enjoy this novel, unless you can relate to his quest, his adventures and his discoveries, unless you can imagine yourself on board the "Pinta", the "Nina" or the "Santa Maria", setting sail for some unknown, far horizon. I urge you not to embark, if you are easily bored or fear you might want to jump ship mid-voyage or mid-adventure. The novel is ship-shape. It would take only you to torpedo it. It would break my heart to read yet another uncomprehending three star (or less) review of this brilliant and important novel. But if you’re not deterred, welcome aboard!A Picaresque Without a PicaroNow that it’s just you and me, let’s talk about Augie, baby, and his adventures.Many critics describe "Augie March" as a picaresque novel.The Spanish word "picaro" means a rogue or a rascal. The Wiki definition mentions that a picaresque narrative is usually a first person autobiographical account; the main character is often of low character or social class; and there is little if any character development in the main character, whose circumstances may change but rarely result in a change of heart.The reference in the title to "adventures" hints at this narrative tradition, as does Augie’s lower class orphan social status.However, Augie isn’t just content to let things happen to him. He’s not passive. He goes where his quest takes him. He is not there by accident or fate. What happens there might not have happened if he had remained at home. His experiences and adventures are a direct response to his quest.Achievement Without LineageJust as there is little or no narrative linearity in the novel, Augie has no familial lineage of any grandeur.Bellow strips him of his father. Augie is "the by-blow of a travelling man" (a child born out of wedlock). He has no recollection of his father.Nevertheless, Augie’s mother is responsible for three boys and a dog, and family love is at the heart of the novel:"Georgie Mahchy, Augie, SimeyWinnie Mahchy, evwy, evwy love Mama."Mama is not a strong-willed, domineering matriarchal type in the Jewish tradition. The mantle of that role is assumed by Grandma Lausch, not a blood relative, but a Russian (Odessa) lodger, "boss-woman, governing hand, queen mother, empress" and major influence who wants what is best in life for Augie and his brothers. She sees potential for greatness in the boys and wants them to aspire and succeed to greatness.To this extent, the novel is about the achievement of aspirations, both internal and external.Augie’s quest is for material independence and love. If he achieves these two things, he will have learned the meaning of his life.Having achieved himself, he will leave a heritage, a legacy for his own family. He will have commenced an empire, a lineage of his own.Nobility Without SavageryThe single word that captures both of Augie’s aspirations is "nobility".A key metaphor in the novel is the difference between nobility and savagery.We are all part of the Animal Kingdom, but what separates humanity (human beings) from the other animals is the capacity for thought, the ability to be dignified, sophisticated, social, cultured, marvellous, refined, sublime and civilized, the tendency to explore, discover, invent, create, learn and teach.This is our nobility, what separates us not just from animal savagery, but human savagery (such as was to be experienced in the Holocaust).While I understand Augie’s name is pronounced "Or-gie", I can’t get out of the habit of pronouncing "Augie" as "Ow-gie" in the German fashion (like I suspect Grandma Lausch did).Augie’s name is presumably short for August, which hints of the noble in its own right, for example, the name Augustus (Caesar), but more likely in the adjective "august" ("inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic") and its Latin etymology (augustus: "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble," probably originally "consecrated by the augurs, with favorable auguries").With all of these personal aspirations and social expectations, it’s crucial that Augie succeed, that he triumph in life.The outcome he fears most is failure. He can’t bear the thought of being a "flop".In this way, his adventure with first real love, Thea, in Mexico with an eagle that hunts iguanas and snakes is symbolic of Augie’s own plight.The eagle is called Caligula, after the Roman Emperor, but equally importantly, the Spanish word for eagle is "águila", which doesn’t take much contortion to become Augie.This eagle should be the most noble and august of birds, yet it fails to achieve its purpose. In the eyes of the township, it becomes the flop that Augie feared.A Man’s Character is His FateAugie’s great advantage is that he is a good listener, "clever junge", bright, intelligent, hopeful, optimistic, eager, [mostly] honest, "ehrlich", loyal, strong, tough, robust, sensual, handsome and grows to be 5' 11" (four inches taller than Bellow himself, thus achieving one of the author’s personal aspirations). He also feels both obliged (or obligated) in the pursuit of his own self-improvement, and obliging in the support of others.If anything, his greatest risk is that others can easily take advantage of him, his friendship and his generosity.This is not to say he is an easy con. It is his nature, his character, and in the words of Heraclitus, "a man’s character is his fate."A Woman’s Influence on a Man’s FateWhile Augie’s adventures are necessarily masculine, women play a vital role at every step as mother (Mama, Grandma Lausch, Mrs Renling), lover (Lucy, Sophie, Thea, Stella) and friend (Mimi).Mrs Renling is almost as ambitious for Augie as Grandma Lausch: "An educated man with a business is a lord."Cousin Anna Coblin shares the view that Augie deserves to succeed: "You should know only happiness, as you deserve."Working Class PoliticsOne of Augie’s mentors, Mr Einhorn points out that he is a contrarian:"This was the first time that anyone had told me anything like the truth about myself. I felt it powerfully. That, as he said, I did have opposition in me, and great desire to offer resistance and to say 'No!' which was as clear as could be, as definite a feeling as a pang of hunger."Augie spends some of his apprenticeship in life as a union organiser. He is good at it and popular, except with rival unions.Like Bellow himself, Augie reads up on Marx and becomes an anti-Stalinist Trotskyist for a while. He even sees Trotsky in Mexico from a distance, just days before his assassination. (Bellow himself missed meeting Trotsky by days.)However, Augie’s heart is not behind the cause at this grass roots level, especially when he has unresolved issues with Thea to deal with.The Universal Eligibility to Be NobleI was always disappointed that, in his later novels, Bellow became less left-wing and more conservative and curmudgeonly.To a certain extent, he moved with the times, in response to revelations about the reality of Soviet Communism and the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.I don’t think he ever became a fully-fledged Neo-Conservative, more what we called an Anti-Anti-Communist, someone who was sympathetic to the Left, but was not a supporter of McCarthyite tactics.He was a writer, not an activist. Like Augie, to quote James Atlas, he was more interested in experiencing "life’s intellectual, aesthetic and sensual pleasures".However, more specifically, in terms of Augie’s worldview, what both author and character seemed to believe in was "the universal eligibility to be noble".They were not so much concerned with the primacy of Equality, whether of outcome or income, but the equal opportunity to achieve Nobility in all the senses that make a human civilized and a civilization great."I am an American, Chicago Born"This might all sound very obvious and trite to you, but I first read "Augie March", when I was defining my own political and cultural views, and Bellow’s and Augie’s example was absolutely vital to me, especially because, part of my own intellectual development occurred in an anti-intellectual context, where it was reassuring to know that intelligence and personal dynamism could be combined successfully in one person.The other reason I am so protective and assertive of the merits of this novel is what it represented in the America of 1953.Bellow was a Jew, a member of a race that had been denied entry into society, members clubs, golf clubs, academia and the cultural intelligentsia.Bellow’s third, most ambitious novel burst onto the American literary scene with the following memorable words:"I am an American, Chicago born…and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted."Augie was asserting his own Americanness, opposed to any attempt to marginalize him because of his racial or religious background.He was an American, first, a Jew, an American Jew. There was no inconsistency between the two qualities. He was proud to be both. He was proud to be the one.When I recently read and reviewed "The Great Gatsby", I wrote about a Capitalist America, that survived and arguably thrived in some way by maintaining an exclusivity.Perhaps, Gatsby’s only failure, the reason he could grasp the American Dream as a Holy Grail and find that it disintegrated in his hands, was that he didn’t realise that he wasn’t welcome by those who were already at the top.In a way, Jay Gatsby handed the baton onto Augie March, who then insisted on making his way through those doors wedged closed, so that more people could follow him and have their contribution to America recognised and respected.Whereas "The Great Gatsby" describes exclusion, "Augie March" conveys a message of inclusion, not necessarily assimilation, but co-existence in harmony of purpose and outcome.So "Augie March" was a major assertion and achievement for an American Jew, an even greater achievement when the novel won the National Book Award for the most distinguished American novel of 1953.I am still more sentimental about this book than "Herzog" or "Humboldt’s Gift", and therefore I am motivated to say that "Augie March" was a large part of the argument for Bellow’s entitlement to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.I am not an American, I am not Chicago born, I am not a Jew. However, the thing about "Augie March", this book written by a 38 year old American Jew, almost 20 years younger than I am now, is that it resounded with me all this way across the world, once upon a time 20 years after it was written, then again 60 years after it was written, and during every moment in between and for every moment during which my heart might beat and my mind might imagine afterwards.Free-Style, In My Own WayIt wasn’t just the subject matter that appealed to me, though that would have been enough. It was the language.Bellow’s first sentence announced his modus operandi: he wasn’t going to be constrained by convention, he was going to write free-style, in his own way, autodidactically, because he wanted to communicate what he had learned himself, rather than being taught.As it turned out, he wrote like he spoke. It didn’t read like it was written, it sounded like it was said and we were listening to it. Augie could speak as if in the street, as if in a bar, as if in a club. It was entertaining, persuasive, informative, endearing, inspiring. Even when most intellectual, his words were still beautiful to listen to.This was no smug Ivy League belletrist pronouncing from the comfort and security of his study. As Bellow has revealed, not a word of this novel was written in Chicago. This was a man jotting down the intricate workings of his mind while sailing across the Atlantic or sitting drinking coffee in a Parisian or Mediterranean cafe.Like Joyce’s portrait of Dublin, this was Chicago and New York remembered from afar, painted from memory, complete with its own deli sights and smells and Yiddish rhythms and intonation.Bellow never descended into purple prose. Everything seemed to be in exactly the right place, as required to communicate effectively. Yet frequently, I wondered at the beauty of his prose, speculating on whether anybody had ever used this combination of simple words in this precise way before.I'll leave you with a random sampling of sentences that appealed:"I have always tried to become what I am.""I have a feeling with respect to the axial lines of life, with respect to which you must be straight or else your existence is merely clownery, hiding tragedy.""Happy as a god.""You are the author of your own death. What is the weapon? The nails and hammer of your character. What is the cross? Your own bones on which you gradually weaken.""Mama was beginning to have the aging stiffness and was somewhat bowlegged; she enjoyed the cold air though, and still had her calm smooth color of health.””She could be singular too, when she’d swagger or boast or vie against other women; or fish compliments, or force me to admire her hair or skin, which I didn’t have to be forced to do.""I felt her conduct like a kind of touching athletic prowess.""There was the object of these wicked thoughts with a warm healthy face, looking innocent and happy to see me. What a beauty! My heart whanged without a pity for me. I already saw myself humbled in the dust of love, the god Eros holding me down with his foot and forcing all kinds of impossible stuff on me.""We were risen up high with pleasure. We had all the luck in love we could ask, and it was maybe improved by the foreignness we found in each other."Nobility Rewarded with a Nobel PrizeHere is an extract from Bellow's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.It gives some insight into the Nobility of the thinking doing being and its origin in the quest to know ourselves and others, in other words, in Augie's quest:"When complications increase, the desire for essentials increases too. The unending cycle of crises that began with the First World War has formed a kind of person, one who has lived through terrible, strange things, and in whom there is an observable shrinkage of prejudices, a casting off of disappointing ideologies, an ability to live with many kinds of madness, an immense desire for certain durable human goods - truth, for instance, or freedom, or wisdom. "I don't think I am exaggerating; there is plenty of evidence for this. Disintegration? Well, yes. Much is disintegrating but we are experiencing also an odd kind of refining process. And this has been going on for a long time. "Looking into Proust's Time Regained I find that he was clearly aware of it. His novel, describing French society during the Great War, tests the strength of his art. Without art, he insists, shirking no personal or collective horrors, we do not know ourselves or anyone else. "Only art penetrates what pride, passion, intelligence and habit erect on all sides - the seeming realities of this world. "There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. "This other reality is always sending us hints, which, without art, we can't receive. "Proust calls these hints our ‘true impressions.’ The true impressions, our persistent intuitions, will, without art, be hidden from us and we will be left with nothing but a ‘terminology for practical ends which we falsely call life.’ "Tolstoy put the matter in much the same way. A book like his Ivan Ilyitch also describes these same ‘practical ends’ which conceal both life and death from us. In his final sufferings Ivan Ilyitch becomes an individual, a "character", by tearing down the concealments, by seeing through the ‘practical ends.’"
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  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.

288 Reply to “The Adventures of Augie March”

  1. Original Review In Pursuit of ExuberanceI first read this in the mid to late 70 s.For a long time, I would have rated Bellow as one of my favourite three to five authors and Augie as one of my top three novels.I haven t re read it, but intend to I am working from long distant memories now, but what I loved about it was the sense of exuberance and dynamism At that time, it meant a lot to me to find evidence that intellect and vitality could be combined in one person.It doesn t concern me so much [...]


  2. Saul Bellow s the Adventures of Augie March is one of three things it s either Saul Bellow s most verbose novel, a piece of fiction that almost stands as an historical document of Chicago during the Great Depression, or one of the best contemporary examples of the picaresque novel Either way it s good and bad, and lovely and sprawling, and a testament to Bellow s fascination with the life that emanated from Chicago in the fifties.Augie, the protagonist of the story, is a tramp to say the least t [...]


  3. I am an American, Altoona born not Chicago, but just as somber At an impressionable age I waited until class was over, then walked up, Bellow sSeize the Day in hand, and asked Professor Mitchell for a moment of his time Mr Mitchell, with his wispy hair and pale skin, always the same blue suit, a librarian of a man, conceived before acid free paper I said, The names, the names in this novel every one is the name of a theorist in psychology Surely that means something And Mr Mitchell paused, so sl [...]


  4. 4.5 5In the end you can t save your soul and life by thought But if you think, the least of the consolation prizes is the world.I may be American, but I am not Chicago born Nor am I male, or of the generation that grew up in the roar of the twenties and came into adulthood soon after the crash My life, and importantly my perspective on said life, would be much different creatures than the ones I currently clamber around on I think, though, they would ve been much like Augie s, on an axis to the [...]


  5. I am an American, Chicago born Chicago, that somber city and go at things as I have taught myself, free style, and will make the record in my own way first to knock, first admitted sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.What an opening sentence, which manages to prefigure the entire novel the frenetic energy of it, diverting this way and that, moving enigmatically from one idea to the next by an inscrutable trajectory It is clear that Augie will make the record in his own way, [...]


  6. I went to Italy once Siena The cathedral Huh 14th century popes with a licorish allsort fetish and way too much money Okay, it was, you know, impressive You could tell those popes wanted to be Alexander McQueen and they were all 6 centuries too early.What, I hear you cry, does this have to do with Augie March, the mid 20th century Chicago likely lad Only that I tiptoed out of the book and the cathedral with the same sour feeling Sour and sore I was beat It was all too much It was overpowering I [...]



  7. Who am I to deny recognition of what others call the Great American Novel Augie is launched on the world like a modern day Huckleberry Finn crossed with Tom Jones But Augie s arc does not quite have their level of comic edge, the moral quandaries of Huck or pursuit of women like Tom Scrambling like a chameleon from one odd job or scheme to another he passes from one mentor to another, then breaks free but never quite grows up He was a great inspiration for me, always aspiring to better himself a [...]


  8. Martin Amis, one of Bellow s acolytes, who doesn t suffer fools gladly, said simply this After you finish Bellow at his best and this is without question one of his absolute best you don t even think you can write a novelever.That s how good this is I was ecstatic when I finished it.Streamlined, wonderfully paced, exuberantly told Augie is one of the best characters you could ever hope to come across Full of life, totally unpretentious, endlessly inventive adventerous, curious and human.This is [...]


  9. The true adventure story is one that not only takes you through a man s life and everything that happens to him, but of his own discovery of who he is and what he wants to be in the world This book by Bellow is just that I had only read herzog by him, a very long time ago, but did not get it at all.ybe the time was not right because with the adventures of augie march my experience was completely different, I connected from the first moment, and loved every minute of it Augie insists on not leadi [...]



  10. Arrastei me, penosamente, pelas primeiras quatrocentas p ginas e as ltimas trezentas folheei vertiginosamente Mas o livro bom O Martin Amis diz que o grande romance da literatura americana At faz parte de algumas listas de leitura obrigat ria e tudo O problema mesmo meu que n o atino com Saul Bellow.


  11. Looks like I ll have to change my final opinion of Saul Bellow, the same way I did with Cormac McCarthy I read Henderson the Rain King and Dangling Man last year, and couldn t stand either of them They were both a chore, even though Dangling Man was only 150 or so pages Then I read Ravelstein, and although it was enjoyable, it didn t seem likely to stick with me I knew I had to give him one shot at least, since everyone seems to like him so much, and The Adventures of Augie March seemed to be [...]


  12. Only vaguely familiar with the name Saul Bellow, I can thank for, yet again, helping me discover a great book Seeing it on one of my friend s 5 star lists, I decided to give Augie March a read, especially after seeing that another friend had written something so highly of the author.The first few pages reinforced exactly what Eric claimed not since Nabokov have I been blown away by language like this Nabokov s sentences are long, often meandering, intensely vivid and smooth Bellows are long and [...]


  13. Lasciar le donne Pazzo Quando ho iniziato il mio racconto ho detto che sarei stato semplice e avrei risposto ai colpi come venivano, e anche il carattere di un uomo il suo destino Be , allora ovvio che questo destino, o quello di cui si accontenta, anche il suo carattere Prima scrivi e poi cancelli e questo lo chiami lavorare Cos il padre Abram Bellow comment negli anni Trenta la scelta del figlio di dedicarsi alla letteratura come mestiere Un padre che non ebbe la fortuna di apprendere, nel 197 [...]


  14. An adventurous all american masterpiece of epic proportions well at least that s what I had hoped for with five stars flashing before my eyes before even reading the first page , so where did it all go wrong , predominantly because it tries to hard to be many different things at once with even the smallest interactions between characters broken up or halted to reflect on the human predicament, relationships or moments from the past, which on the whole I don t have a problem with from time to tim [...]


  15. 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 It s said by some that Chicago might have the most vibrant literary community in the entire United States right now and if that s indeed true, it d be due in part to the remarkably popular One Book One Chicago OBOC program run by the Chicago Public Library CPL , one of the many things that makes it such a treat to b [...]


  16. Looking for the Great American Novel According to the likes of Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, and Christopher Hitchens, look no further than this book Why the book jacket would quote three Englishmen about the Great American Novel is a mystery not explained by the editors at Penguin Classics James Wood, in his almost ecstatic essay Saul Bellow s Comic Style, called Bellow probably the greatest writer of American prose of the 20th century where greatest means most abundant, various, precise, rich, [...]


  17. The Adventures of Augie March was once a great novel but its quality is eroding away At the end of WWII, a wave of outstanding Jewish writers appeared in America They included Herman Wouk, Leon Uris, Isaac Asimov, Ayn Rand, Joseph Heller, J D Salinger, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth and finally Saul Bellow the winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for literature These authors wrote about an America that was urban rather than rural and no longer Anglo Protestant Of the works they produced n [...]


  18. Manic, wordy, beautiful, almost successful attempt at the Great American Novel Sometimes Bellow s jazzy, Beat inflected language irritated me, and sometimes I was enraptured I can imagine Bellow writing this in a frenzy on a roll of toilet paper, in the same way that Kerouac wroteOn the Road, though I am almost certain he didn t.I enjoyed the Audible version although the inability to go back after the fact and savor language is a downside of an audiobook, I don t think that I would have had the [...]


  19. This is the American epic In the lineage of The Odyssey and The Aeneid and Argonautica, Bellow s The Adventures of Augie March is a modern struggle against, or for, fate It is an paean of life s potential, of endurance Augie s struggle is not to get ahead, but to take the helm of his fate, to direct it toward better waters, to live the way he wants, the way he feels is right for him, and the ways of life for other men be damned He is often showered with opportunities, grande advantages which he [...]


  20. This novel is unquestionably one of the great masterpieces of our time Saul Bellow paints portraits of characters like Rembrandt He has a brilliant technique for divulging not only the physical nuances of his characters but also gets deep into the essence of their souls He has an astute grasp of motivation and spins a complex tale with an ease that astounds Even the most unusual twists of fate seem natural and authentic Augie is a man in search of a worthwhile fate After struggling at the bottom [...]


  21. 536 pages of very small type, I might add What a chore reading this book was I began reading it in 2008 and finished over a year later and this was my third attempt Bellows uses every adjective in the dictionary Never heard of Belshazzar or Pasipha Me neither, but Bellows has, and he inserts every historical, mythological, biblical and classical reference, every Yiddish, Latin and French phrase, as well as every long word in English he knows, as if to say, Hey, look how smart I am Ostensibly, th [...]


  22. I knew from the first couple paragraphs of this novel that it was fantastic, amazing, like a well built Italian or German sports car However, once Bellow jumps into Augie s flight to Mexico with Thea where they try to to catch Mexican lizards with an wussy eagle it was equivalent to discovering that the sports car you are driving actually has 6 gears Anyway, this is one of those books where sentences seem likely to escape the gravity of English, the characters are as big as planets, and the plot [...]


  23. It took me almost forty years to read Augie March I bought the book in the late 70s cover price 1.95 and cover art worthy of Harold Robbins This was shortly after Bellow won the Nobel Prize for Literature and after years of listening to my father also Saul, also a first generation American Jew, and roughly Bellow s contemporary rave about the book It was also years before Bellow became a curmudgeonly conservative but that s another story The book sat on many different shelves all these years and [...]


  24. I was sick this week and stayed in bed for two days straight with all 586 lovely, lyrical, sad, brilliant pages of Augie March and his adventures It took me about 75 pages to get into Bellow s very particular style now I am hooked Done for This book contains so much that I am at a loss to describe it One of my favorite little snippets extremely pertinent to my current state of affairs I never blamed myself for throwing aside such things as didn t let themselves be read with fervor, for they left [...]


  25. The saga of a fatherless boy, brought up by his timid mother and overbearing grandmother, as he grows to a man, trying to make his way in Depression era Chicago and later, in other countries Augie believes that a man s character is his fate, and thus that this fate, or what he settles for, is also his character Therefore, always searching for a fate good enough somehow fitting into other people s schemes but never coming up with any of his own he feels buffeted by the vicissitudes of fate He hol [...]


  26. Saying I read this book is a lie I read part of it I wanted to read all of it because of Goodreader Tony s wonderful review And I particularly wanted to read it because my yellowing 50 cent paperback belonged to my father and was one of his favorite books I added this vintage cover, which cracked off when I opened it, to the collection it was published before there were ISBNs Anyway, I really wanted to read and love it, but alas I got buried and overwhelmed by the words and poetry, and I found I [...]


  27. Saul Bellow was one of the greatest writers of American Contemorary fiction to ever write It s just with this one I never was fully enagaged or emersed.The way Bellow wrote it was with great skill and intellect, he understood Man s place in time between the Great Depression and World War Two Not being able to love this book or get out of it is on me then Bellow s writing There would be no Jonathan Franzen or Jeffery Eugenides had Saul Bellow never written.I really enjoyed the eagle training pa [...]


  28. The Adventures of Augie March first published in 1953 is the 3rd novel of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Literature awardee, Saul Bellow The year before that he also won the Pulitzer award for his 8th novel, Humbolt s Gift He is the only writer who has won the National Book Award three times The Adventures of Augie March 1954 , Herzhog 1965 and Mr Sammler s Planet 1971 Last year, I read Herzhog and I gave it a 4 star I really liked it.I spent 5 days reading this It s an easy read but the plot is a bit [...]


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