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Humboldts gave (1975)

af Saul Bellow

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2,973394,570 (3.78)128
Charlie Citrine, suffering from steadily worsening troubles with women, career, and life in general, receives unexpected aid and comfort in the form of a belated bequest from his onetime friend and mentor, the poet Von Humboldt Fleisher.
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Engelsk (34)  Hollandsk (2)  Spansk (1)  Alle (1)  Alle sprog (38)
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"Humboldt's Gift" by Saul Bellow is a novel that revolves around the life of Charlie Citrine, a middle-aged writer grappling with personal and existential challenges. The story is structured as a reflection on Citrine's tumultuous friendship with the eccentric poet and intellectual, Von Humboldt Fleisher.

The novel explores themes of success, artistic integrity, and the complexities of human relationships. After Fleisher's death, Citrine finds himself entangled in legal and financial troubles, and he reflects on the paths his life has taken. The narrative weaves between the present and the past, exploring Citrine's relationships, his career, and the contrasting values of materialism and artistic pursuit.

"Humboldt's Gift" is a rich exploration of the artistic temperament, the pursuit of meaning in life, and the challenges of balancing personal and creative aspirations. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976 and is considered one of Saul Bellow's major works. ( )
  Peter_MacTroy | Dec 19, 2023 |
A book that one can devour whole-heartedly. A tribute to poor Delmore Schwartz; a tribute to Chicago. Full of the wiliest of characters, bankers, gold-diggers, threatening crooks, shady lawyers, old Jewish Chicagoans, Rudolf Steiner's theosophy' and Bellow's own erudition of the western literary tradition. The storyline is wild but never flags. The humour is high class and often very funny. The love for his old colleague, Humboldt (Schwartz in real life), is repaid at the end to conclude a wonderful crazy story.
  ivanfranko | Aug 5, 2023 |
Bellow is a fantastic prose stylist, but that wasn't enough for me to get past the fact that all of the lead characters are deeply unlikeable and shallow, despite their supposed intellectualism, and I frankly couldn't care at all about what happened to any of them. Perhaps the book has aged badly; it seems rooted very much in a particular time and culture. It took me weeks to get through the first 75% of the book but I did find it more compelling towards the end. ( )
  SuzieD | Jan 3, 2023 |
"Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything."

Humboldt's Gift is a study of a man fighting the world and his inner demons by withdrawing from his life.

Charles Citrine is a successful author who seems to like and trust everybody. As a young man he had travelled across America to meet acclaimed author Von Humboldt Fleischer. They became close friends until Charles's own literary success ruined their relationship. Charles is a decent, generous man, but has a weakness for beautiful women. He has had a number of lovers; one woman is divorcing him, trying to impoverish him in the process, and another desperately wants him to marry her. Charles is in a sad condition but has friends willing to help him out.

Chapters have neither titles nor numbers and the narrative didn't really have a structure. The nature of Humboldt’s gift isn't clear until we have read most of the book and we then discover that it is a real and practical gift, a bequest from his old friend rather than an ironical term.

I found I couldn't empathise with Citrine at all. rather his non-participation, his constant contemplation of life rather than actually living merely left me frustrated. Personally, I found this an exhausting read that needed some serious editing. It was verbose in the extreme, littered with French phrases (un-translated) and obscure literary references that made me feel that Bellow rather than engaging with his readers was simply trying to demonstrate how much smarter than them he is.
Overall, not a great read at all for me. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jul 31, 2022 |
Durante muchos años, el gran poeta Von Humboldt Fleisher y Charlie Citrine, un joven completamente inflamado por el amor a la literatura, han sido los mejores amigos. Pero cuando le llega la muerte, Humboldt es un escritor fracasado y la vida de Charlie ha llegado a un punto crítico: su carrera profesional no avanza, está sumergido en un espantoso divorcio, liado con una mujer joven con la que no encaja y frecuenta compañías poco recomendables. ¿Cómos salir de todo eso? La última voluntad de Humboldt, que protege a su amigo Charlie desde su tumba, es un 'legado' que puede ayudarle a tomar de nuevo las riendas de su vida.
  Natt90 | Jul 18, 2022 |
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Saul Bellowprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Paolini, Pier FrancescoOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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The book of ballads published by Von Humboldt Fleisher in the Thirties was an immediate hit.
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Charlie Citrine, suffering from steadily worsening troubles with women, career, and life in general, receives unexpected aid and comfort in the form of a belated bequest from his onetime friend and mentor, the poet Von Humboldt Fleisher.

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