Saul Bellow's 1953 breakthrough novel The Adventures of Augie March is perhaps, of all the great American novels we've discussed, the one whose cultural imprint has faded the most. Even among Bellow fans this freewheeling exploration of American identity tends to take a backseat to subsequent classics such as Herzog (1964) and Humboldt’s Gift (1975). Yet for readers who recognize the Whitmanesque strain within Bellow's insistently intellectual worldview, Augie March offers a garrulous, propulsive portrait of the representative American as a picaro, the rogue hero who lives by his wits. In this epic novel in which the journey itself is the destination, Bellow synthesizes a host of influences (Cervantes, Henry Fielding, Twain, Dickens) to celebrate the sheer gusto of American exuberance and the foundational belief that the self is one's clay to mold without rules to follow. If as one original reviewer declared, Augie March is a rolling stone (a decade before that term became synonymous with rock 'n' roll), this rambling, swaggering embodiment of restless American energy is more Muddy Waters than Bob Dylan: perfectly happy to keep on keepin' on, Augie March doesn't need "no direction home."