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Saul Bellow: Novels 1944-1953: Dangling Man, The Victim, and The Adventures of Augie March (Library of America) Hardcover – September 15, 2003


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Saul Bellow: Novels 1944-1953: Dangling Man, The Victim, and The Adventures of Augie March (Library of America) + Saul Bellow: Novels 1956-1964: Seize the Day, Henderson the Rain King, Herzog (Library of America) + Bellow: Novels 1970-1982: Mr. Sammler's Planet / Humboldt's Gift / The Dean's December (Library of America)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1029 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (September 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931082383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931082389
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Wood, editor, is senior editor at The New Republic. He is the author of The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief (1999) and the novel The Book Against God (2003).

More About the Author

Saul Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel HUMBOLDT'S GIFT in 1975, and in 1976 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 'for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.' He is the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards, for THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH, HERZOG, and MR. SAMMLER'S PLANET

Customer Reviews

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This is volume one. comprising Bellow's stand out early books.
Amazon Customer
He has his ups and downs, he turns down a few good prospects for advancement, he has criminal as well as intellectual adventures; of course also sexual ones.
H. Schneider
Late in the book, in post-War Italy, Augie meets an impoverished Italian woman who offers to show him sites for a fee.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on December 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a Bellow fan and have read most of his novels.

In case you are new to Bellow, his novels reflect his life, his writings, and his five marriages during his five active decades of writing. He hit his peak as a writer around the time of "Augie March" in 1953 and continued through to the Pulitzer novel "Humbolt's Gift" in 1973. He wrote from the early 1940s through to 2000. His novels are written in a narrative form, and the main character is a Jewish male, usually a writer but not always, and he is living in either in New York or Chicago. Bellow wrote approximately 13 novels plus other works. Bellow progressed a long way as a writer over the five decades. The early novels "Dangling Man" and "The Victim" were written 25 years before his peak. Those were heavy slow reads. "Dangling Man" is often boring, and Bellow was in search of his writing style in that period of the 1940s. Some compare his style in "Dangling Man" with Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground." Having read both I would say that "Notes" is brilliant while "Dangling Man" is at best average and sometimes a bit boring.

That brings us to the present book: "Novels from 1944-1953." I am a Bellow fan, and when I started I bought the present book first. In retospect that was a mistake, because this collection has his two worst novels. "Augie March" is his first big novel, but "Dangling Man" - is among his worst. Even Bellow himself was critical of that novel in later years. I prefer almost any of the later novels such as the masterpiece "Herzog" or "Humbolt's Gift" or "Mr. Sammler's Planet" or his last book and light read "Ravelstein." Some disagree and think that his early works are compact, well written, and his finest works. As a general reader, I thought the 1960s and 1970s works were much better and so did most critics. Bellow thought his best and most difficult to write book was his 1964 masterpiece "Herzog."

This is not the starting point for a Bellow reader.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Saul Bellow (1915 -- 2005) was born in Canada but was smuggled into the United States at the age of 9 by his bootlegging father. He spent his youth on the poorer Jewish streets of Chicago. Much of Bellow's writing is autobiographical in character and combines his rough-and-tumble early city life with his great erudition and thoughtfulness. Among much other recognition, Bellow received three National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize in 1976.

The Library of America has published two volumes of Bellow's novels, the first of which includes the three novels written between 1944 and 1953 and the second of which includes three novels written between 1956 -- 1964, including "Seize the Day", "Henderson the Rain King", and "Herzog". I am reviewing the earlier volume here which includes "Dangling Man", "The Victim", and "The Adventures of Augie March."

When he became famous, Bellow distanced himself from his first two novels, describing "Dangling Man" as his M.A. thesis and "The Victim" as his Ph.D. But these novels are worth reading in themselves and in showing how Bellow both developed the themes in these early works while also breaking away from them. The two early books are studies of alienation and loneliness in an urban environment, pitting the "outsider" against the broader "society." They are heavily influenced by Dostoevsky and by existentialism. In "Augie March" Bellow emphasizes humanism, exhuberance, and the ability each person has in determining the course of his or her life.

"Dangling Man" (1944) is a short novel told in the form of the diary entries of its protagonist, Joseph. The novel sold poorly but marked the beginning of Bellow's high reputation with literary critics.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bellow: Novels 1944-1953 collects three novels by renowned author Saul Bellow: "Dangling Man"; "The Victim"; and "The Adventures Of Augie March". These three literary works distinguished Bellow as a great writer of the postwar era and set the groundwork for his intellectual pursuits. Exploring the human psyche, the brutal vagaries of chance, coming of age in the harsh Depression era, and more, these enduringly popular novels have stood the literary test of time and are undisputably worthy of recognition and respect. Published on non-acid paper specifically necessary for a "shelf life" of many decades, Bellow: Novels 1944-1953 is an essential part of any academic or community library collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on March 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At age 29, Saul Bellow published his first novel, the `Dangling Man', about somebody resembling him too much not to be at least in part a self portrait. The book came out in 1944. The novel is set in 1942/43. The US is in WW2; the depression is not fully over.
We read the diary of a young Canadian called Joseph, who is waiting to be called up to the US army (North Africa campaign ongoing). He apologizes (to whom?) for writing a diary, which in itself is not in line with the requirements of the age of hard-boileddom, as he fears. Joseph observes himself and tries to understand his situation. He is alienated from his friends, his family, even his own self. The expected call up for war almost seems like the only salvation in sight. He despises the war. He hopes to survive it, but would rather be a victim than a beneficiary. He does not try to become an officer. What's wrong with being a private?

The Dangling Man is considered an apprentice novel. The second one, `The Victim', still belongs in this category. It is set in New York. It was published in 1947. It is about a man who is given to excessive self-questioning, and who is being stalked by a man who accuses him of having intentionally caused his ruin. All social relations are complicated by the added dimension of the central character's Jewishness. Anti-Semitism is an element of all relations. It is up to us whether one man or the other is the title victim, or both.

Bellow's breakthrough was `The Adventures of Augie March', which was published in 1953. Excerpts had appeared here and there since 1949. It is a 600 page doorstopper. That is, frankly, too much. The story is not interesting enough for such a long road. We are not meeting many interesting people.
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