"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 and dated by Saul Bellow in 1954
The Adventures of Augie March.
Item Number: 4244
New York: The Viking Press, 1953.
First edition of Bellow’s first National Book Award-winning novel. Octavo, original cloth, salmon topstain. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For Raymita Chaffee with best wishes Saul Bellow Breadloaf VT, 1954.” The recipient was a student of Bellow’s at Breadloaf. Fine in a near fine first-issue dust jacket with a closed tear to the crown and a light brown spot to the top right side of the front panel. Jacket design by Robert Hallock. Contemporary inscriptions in this title are uncommon.
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 and was listed on Modern Library's 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century.