Humboldt's Gift and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by historybookshop
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Dispatched quickly from United Kingdom warehouse, usually no later than next business day.Some wear, pages may have reader's comments on text.
Trade in your item
Get a £0.50
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Humboldt's Gift Hardcover – 6 Oct 1975

20 customer reviews

See all 26 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, 6 Oct 1975
£55.21 £0.01
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for your child's school by voting for their favourite book. Learn more.
  • Prepare for the summer with our pick of the best selection for children (ages 0 - 12) across Amazon.co.uk.


Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card and 30 Kindle E-readers for your child or pupil's school.
Vote for your child or pupil(s) favourite book(s) here to be in with a chance to win.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd; 1st Edition edition (6 Oct. 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436039508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436039508
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,859,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Saul Bellow's dazzling career as a novelist has been marked with numerous literary prizes, including the 1976 Nobel Prize, and the Gold Medal for the Novel. His other books include Dangling Man, The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, More Die of Heartbreak, Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories, Mr Sammler's Planet, Seize The Day and The Victim. Saul Bellow died in 2005. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By therealus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Around the time Bellow received the Nobel for this novel, he was the subject of my college dissertation. It was to be almost thirty years before I revisited Humboldt's Gift again as my inflight reading on a trip to the US, and when I did the experience was somewhat different.

First I noted the humour. I remembered its being an amusing book, but never as hilarious as I found it so many years on. I reflected on whether I had truly understood some of the references, and on how much more I identified with the book having travelled to some of the places mentioned - Texas, Chicago, New York, Madrid. The whole thing was so much less abstract, so I felt more able to immerse myself in the characterisation, without the need to expend energy trying to imagine what these places looked like.

It was the characterisation that really stood out, from the outwardly bullish but inwardly sheepish Charlie Citrine, and his scheming girlfriend Renata and her conspiratorial mother; the minor hoodlum Cantabile and his academic girlfriend Polly; and on to the tragic Humboldt himself, long deceased by the time of the book's opening but a constant, spectral presence throughout. Finally, the roguish Thaxter, Citrine's "business partner", a man who may well have inspired the leadership of Enron.

In addition, some of the vocabulary surprised me. For example, "leveraged". Had I registered the word back in the seventies? I guessed not. It's a word I'd associated with management consultants, financial derivatives and the eighties.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Angus Jenkinson VINE VOICE on 15 April 2014
Format: Paperback
In one of the 20th-century masterpieces of literary fiction, a puzzled American genius, grizzled and passionate, on the edge of spiritual and erotic revelation, is hounded by old memories, lawyers, a disgruntled wife, financial troubles and manic characters. A charismatic second-rate hoodlum, a zany literary partner and a would-be-wife threaten, cajole and provoke him through his all too human odyssey through spiritual recollection, mindfulness and vision. Throughout, the evocative memories and deeds of his deceased lifelong poet friend, collaborator and rival twist him this way and that. The esoteric philosophy of Rudolf Steiner provides the foundation. This is a stunning pyrotechnic of erudition, muscular style, and tragicomic narration. If you like Shakespeare you will like this. Humboldt is a 20th-century Hamlet, possibly crossed with Goethe’s Faust.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jonathan carr on 24 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant and funny, this is only the 2nd book I've read by Bellow,I don't think any writer I have read covers so much history and so many ideas so gently and with such rich mixture of pathos and hope.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Humboldt's Gift is a novel that becomes bogged down in its own intellectual pretensions. When the plot is actually moving, it's reasonably entertaining and well written. Unfortunately it frequently jars to a halt with lengthy ramblings about philosophy and other weighty matters.

The central character and narrator is Charlie Citrine, a middle aged successful writer, whom I found intensely annoying. His endless wittering about his problems - all of which were of his own making - left me with no sympathy whatsoever. As far as I could see he was rich and successful, but was determined to destroy everything he had that was good. I didn't care about any of the characters in the novel and therefore had low interest in the plot and how it turned out.

At over 450 pages it's a long story, yet one in which little happens. Two thirds could easily have been cut out without any detriment, and would have made it less of an onerous task to wade through.

For readers who like novels which focus on exploration of the meaning of life, it will certainly be a hit, as Bellow does write really nicely. But if, like me, you find endless introspection dull and irritating, then I wouldn't recommend reading this. And I would be surprised if anyone warms to the character of Citrine.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phil O'Sofa on 24 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a difficult book to categorize. On the back cover is a quote from the San Francisco Examiner: 'funny, vibrant, ironic, self-mocking and wise' and all of these it certainly is. (It also says there's an introduction by Martin Amis, but this is nowhere to be found). But it is also a rambling and occasionally repetitive meditation on life, the universe and everything, wrapped up in the story of two Jewish-American intellectuals, one (the poet Humboldt) a kind of mentor to the other (writer Charlie Citrine).

Although fictional, the novel is based on the real-life friendship between Bellow (Charlie) and American poet Delmore Schwartz (Humboldt). After Humboldt's death Charlie looks back over their lives, their successes and failings; delving into the relationship between art and the materialistic society of 20th-century America, with a brilliant portrait of gangster-ruled Chicago thrown in.

It takes some getting into, but it is well worth the effort. Although it can be a bit slow-moving at times, it can also be very funny, full of the kind of Jewish humour that Woody Allen excelled at but which isn't always so evident in Bellow's earlier work. It is a masterpiece because there is a lot of really brilliant writing in here, but it is flawed because it hasn't been edited properly; at nearly 500 pages, it's at least a hundred more than the material requires, two-hundred probably.

Another criticism is that most of the characters talk like Charlie; philosophical, reasonable, intelligent. In other words they all sound like Bellow, apart from the sleazy gangster Cantabile who at least talks dirty now and then. Also I don't like the seemingly-random habit of doing without commas in some sentences, but that's a minor point. Still, it's definitely worth reading, if you can spare the time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback