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Humboldts Vermächtnis (1975)

von Saul Bellow

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MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
2,675334,193 (3.82)111
For many years, the great poet Von Humboldt Fleisher and Charlie Citrine, a young man inflamed with a love for literature, were the best of friends. At the time of his death, however, Humboldt is a failure, and Charlie's life has reached a low point- his career is at a standstill, and he's enmeshed in an acrimonious divorce, infatuated with a highly unsuitable young woman and involved with a neurotic mafioso. And then Humboldt acts from beyond the grave, bestowing upon Charlie an unexpected legacy that may just help him turn his life around.… (mehr)
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Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
allusions and asides ( )
  stravinsky | Dec 28, 2020 |
This was definitely not my favorite "classic". There are interesting characters, big city alienation and philosophical meditations galore. However, the book really bogged down in places, for me. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
3.5 stars
( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
“He was meddling, just meddling. Still, I took this to heart. For there was a lot of agony in Demmie. Some women wept as softly as a watering can in the garden. Demmie cried passionately, as only a woman who believes in sin can cry. When she cried you not only pitied her, you respected her strength of soul.”

There is an astonishingly short page on Wikipedia to this book that had won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976 and is cited on that website as having “contributed to Bellow's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year”. Then follow two minor paragraphs devoted to plot and two sentences to its reception. This book is four-hundred and ninety-four pages and probably had me consulting the computer for references as many times. It’s dense. It’s funny. The two main characters suffer from honesty every bit as painful as their introspection is myopic. Or maybe not. Maybe somewhere in that anthroposophical ether that clouds Charlie Citrine like bad weather, despite his flight toward whatever exotic locale he secretes himself, whatever room or hotel or Russian bathhouse stall, stretched on a couch or crushed between dubious characters on a Thunderbird’s bench seat, Seraphim and Cherubim and Exousiai and Archai fist-fighting in the jet streams of his skull, there’s an acceptance of the limitations of the material world and yet a clear-eyed glimpse of a realm beyond. Even Humboldt’s posthumous “gift” is maybe more trouble than it’s worth. As, maybe, is all life. And that’s at least the fourth time I’ve waffled with that adverb.

Chicago may be the bedrock to this sprawling work, and it is populated with some of the tropes synonymous with that city: gangsters, architecture, restaurants, the old country in the New World. But the world of the mind is the real domain here; wedded to the basest of our human natures. And so we have poets in rural New Jersey trying to mow down their wives with Buicks, low-level thugs horning in on copyright lawyers, Chicagoan entrepreneurs hunting for beryllium in Nairobi, huckster journalists making a buck off their own abduction in South America; and none of these events seem grand enough to fill the space left from the conversations with his departed mentor and friend.

Maybe the gift is more than an object, an heirloom, a sealed letter from the past. It could be nothing more than that moment when he learned to live in the middle of the material and spiritual worlds. How fleeting that moment. And yet, the recollection can seem to last forever when stretched out on the couch, away from the clamor and clangor of Chicago, removed from the clash of new toys in old worlds, some far country yet unclaimed since it hasn’t even been marked on a map.

Or Charlie Citrine could just be a selfish prick. But at least he knows it. And he’s got the perfect escape. Like another Appleton native, Harry Houdini, who’d travelled to the biggest cities to break free from handcuffs, straightjackets and milk cans—all self-imposed. Except Citrine didn’t share the magician’s obsession for debunking spiritualists, preferring instead a peaceful absorption.

And, to be fair, I’ve not totally gotten my head around “anthroposophy”. Certainly, enough for the context of the novel. But, just like that hovering hierarchy of angels, it may demand more research and a second read.

“In the enchanting days we had had such marvelous talks, only touched a little by manic depression and paranoia. But now the light became dark and the dark turned darker.” ( )
  ToddSherman | Sep 12, 2017 |

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (38 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Saul BellowHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Paolini, Pier FrancescoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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The book of ballads published by Von Humboldt Fleisher in the Thirties was an immediate hit.
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Wikipedia auf Englisch (1)

For many years, the great poet Von Humboldt Fleisher and Charlie Citrine, a young man inflamed with a love for literature, were the best of friends. At the time of his death, however, Humboldt is a failure, and Charlie's life has reached a low point- his career is at a standstill, and he's enmeshed in an acrimonious divorce, infatuated with a highly unsuitable young woman and involved with a neurotic mafioso. And then Humboldt acts from beyond the grave, bestowing upon Charlie an unexpected legacy that may just help him turn his life around.

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Durchschnitt: (3.82)
0.5 1
1 5
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 1
3 87
3.5 28
4 136
4.5 17
5 77

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