Saul Bellow: Novels 1944-1953 (LOA #141): Dangling Man / The Victim / The Adventures of Augie March

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9781931082389: Saul Bellow: Novels 1944-1953 (LOA #141): Dangling Man / The Victim / The Adventures of Augie March
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Saul Bellow's rare talent has not only earned critical accolades, including the Nobel Prize, it has also made his books perennial bestsellers. Now, in a historic collector's edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic "The Adventures of Augie March," readers will rediscover the novels that laid the foundation for Bellow's towering career. The comic tour-de-force "The Adventures of Augie March" (1953) introduced to American literature a startlingly original expressiveness-uninhibited, jazzy, infused with Yiddishisms and Depression-era voices. Ebullient irony bears Bellow's prose aloft. March comes of age in a Chicago bustling with characters as large and vital as the city itself, and his travels abroad lead him through love's byways and the disappointments of vanishing youth. Martin Amis calls it "the Great American Novel" for its "fantastic inclusiveness, its pluralism, its qualmless promiscuity. . . . Everything is in here." Bellow's sparer first two novels possess a more Flaubertian precision. "Dangling Man" (1944) penetrates the psychology of a jobless man's anxiousness as he awaits draft orders. "The Victim" (1947), an increasingly nightmarish story of one man's extraordinary claims on a casual acquaintance, explores our obligations to others and the unfathomable workings of chance. After a half century, Bellow's earliest novels remain as fresh, incisive, and entertaining as ever. Included in this edition are helpful notes and a chronology of the author's life.

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Présentation de l'éditeur :

Winner of the Nobel Prize and a towering figure of twentieth-century literature, Saul Bellow secured his place as one of the most distinctive and significant writers of the postwar era with the publication of his third novel, The Adventures of Augie March. This Library of America volume collects all three of Bellow’s early works, beginning with Dangling Man (1944), an incisive character study cast in the form of a diary that depicts the anguish and uncertainty of a man known only as Joseph. Expecting to be deployed to the war overseas, Joseph quits his job and finds himself increasingly on edge when his draft board defers his enlistment. The first of his many books to take place in Chicago, Dangling Man is a spare, haunting novel in which Bellow lays bare Joseph’s dilemma with rigorous precision and subtlety.

The Victim (1947), which Bellow described as “a novel whose theme is guilt,” is an unsettling moral parable. Left alone in New York City while his wife is visiting her family, Asa Leventhal is confronted by a former co-worker whom he can barely remember. What seems like a chance encounter evolves into an uncanny bond that threatens to ruin Leventhal’s life. As their relationship grows ever more volatile, Bellow stages a searching exploration of our obligations toward others.

In a radical change of direction, Bellow next wrote The Adventures of Augie March (1953). Its eponymous hero grows up in a bustling Chicago peopled by characters as large as vital as the city itself, then sets off on travels that lead him through the byways of love and the disappointments of a fast-vanishing youth. Exuberant, uninhibited, jazzy, infused with Yiddishisms and a panoply of Depression-era voices, Augie March is borne aloft by an ebullient sense of irony. Winner of the 1954 National Book Award and praised by writers and critics ranging from Alfred Kazin to Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis, The Adventures of Augie March has had a lasting impact that shows no sign of abating.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

Biographie de l'auteur :

Saul Bellow was born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. His works include The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954, Seize the Day (1956); Henderson the Rain King (1959); and Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize. 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." In 2003, he became just the second living writer to have his works published in the Library of America series. He died in 2005.

James Wood, editor, is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel (2004), The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief(1999), and the novel The Book Against God (2003).

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