Humboldt's Gift Themes & Social Concerns

This Study Guide consists of approximately 78 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Humboldt's Gift.
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Humboldt's Gift examines the role of the artist in American society. The United States is an advanced technological society, controlled by business interests, dominated by money. Science achieves remarkable successes. It can perform heart bypass surgery and fly people from coast to coast. What role does art have in such a society? Is it merely the province of a few harmless intellectuals? Why is it that so many American poets have committed suicide?

Von Humboldt Fleisher acts out the agony of the poet in American society.

Nothing in the society sustained his dreams. The temptations and distractions of America were too great for the individual poet. Now, his friend, Charlie Citrine, examines Humboldt's career. Charlie too is an artist who has fallen into difficulties, and the novel is largely about his struggles to avoid the fate of the dead poet.

Charlie Citrine wrestles with the question of...

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This section contains 254 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Humboldt's Gift Study Guide
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