Humboldt’s Gift.

"I could never have done it without your patient help Saul": First Edition of Humboldt’s Gift; Inscribed by Saul Bellow to his Secretary

Humboldt’s Gift.



Item Number: 1289

New York: The Viking Press, 1975.

First edition of the author’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work. Octavo, original half cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Karyl, with love I could never have done it without your patient help Saul.” The recipient, Karyl Kylie typed the manuscript of this novel. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with just a touch of wear. Jacket design by Mel Williamson. An exceptional association.

Humboldt's Gift is a self-described "comic book about death," whose title character is modeled on the lyric poet Delmore Schwartz. Charlie Citrine, an intellectual, middle-aged author of award-winning biographies and plays, contemplates two significant figures and philosophies in his life: Von Humboldt Fleisher, a dead poet who had been his mentor, and Rinaldo Cantabile, a very-much-alive minor mafioso who has been the bane of Humboldt's existence. Humboldt had taught Charlie that art is powerful and that one should be true to one's creative spirit. Rinaldo, Charlie's self-appointed financial adviser, has always urged Charlie to use his art to turn a profit. At the novel's end, Charlie has managed to set his own course.

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