"I Am An American, Chicago Born – Chicago, That Somber City – And Go At Things As I Have Taught Myself, Free-Style, And Will Make The Record In My Own Way": First Edition of The Adventures of Augie March; Inscribed by Saul Bellow to his Attorney And Close Friend, Sam Goldberg, On Whom He based The Character Mintouchian

  • The Adventures of Augie March.
  • The Adventures of Augie March.

The Adventures of Augie March.

Item Number: 3029

New York: The Viking Press, 1953.

First edition of Bellow’s first National Book Award winning novel. Octavo, original cloth, salmon topstain. Inscribed by the author to his attorney and close friend Samuel Goldberg on the front free endpaper, “To my sidekick and counsellour, and in behalf of Mintouchian, also a bosom friend of Sam Goldberg Saul Bellow.” Mintouchian is a character within the novel, a lawyer who counsels Augie March on various issues. Augie confides to Mintouchian at one point, “I have always tried to become what I am. But it’s a frightening thing. Because what if what I am by nature isn’t good enough?” Mintouchian reassures him, “You must take your chance on what you are.” An excellent example in a near fine first-issue dust jacket that shows some light wear to the spine. Jacket design by Robert Hallock. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable.

The Adventures of Augie March comes on stage with one of literature's most famous opening lines. "I am an American, Chicago born, and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted." Bellow quickly found a receptive audience for his new energetic style. The critic Irving Howe took note of Bellow's "free style" manner, calling it "the first major new style in American prose fiction since those of Hemingway and Faulkner." This novel went on to win the National Book Award for 1954. Both Time magazine and the Modern Library Board named it one of the hundred best novels in the English language.