First Edition of Saul Bellow's Pulitzer Prize-winning Novel Humboldt's Gift; Inscribed by him to Close Friend Judge Abraham Marovitz
Item Number: 100951
New York: The Viking Press, 1975.
First edition of the author’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Octavo, original half cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author, “To Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz — the homage of letters to justice Best wishes Saul Bellow June 3 1982.” The recipient Abraham Marovitz was a famed Chicago attorney and long-time powerful United States District Court judge. Both Bellow and Marovitz were Lithuanian Jews (Bellow born in Canada, Marovitz in the United States) who knew each other well as fellow notable Chicagoans. His inkstamped “From the Library of Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz” on the front pastedown. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Jacket design by Mel Williamson. An exceptional presentation.
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.