Spring 1954 • Vol. XVI No. 2 Book Reviews |

American Comedy

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow. Viking. $4.50. Indelibly and exhaustively, The Adventures of Augie March traces a richly comic pattern of aspiration and disaster. It is a comic pattern because the height of Augie's aspirations and the speed of his recoveries keep us from taking his catastrophes seriously. Generally there is some inherent absurdity in both the aspiration and the disaster, for the whole of Augie's ambition is cast in a tone of unmistakable hyperbole. He lives, in his imagination, on easy terms with world-conquerors and millionaires. It is second nature for him to say, when he must delay bringing someone to the phone, "I'm not King Canute, you know." He is not King Canute, any more than Leopold Bloom is Ulysses, and he is not any of the others of whom he is constantly reminded: Timur, Talleyrand, Christ, Cecil Rhodes, Jupiter—a complete list would fill the whole review. This seems to be a basic premise: Augie March is not one of these exalted heroes

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By Henry Popkin

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow. Viking. $4.50. Indelibly and exhaustively, The Adventures of Augie March traces a richly comic pattern of aspiration and disaster. It is a […]

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