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The Humbling (Anglais) Broché – 6 octobre 2016

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Description du produit


Into Thin Air

He'd lost his magic. The impulse was spent. He'd never failed in the theater, everything he had done had been strong and successful, and then the terrible thing happened: he couldn't act. Going onstage had become agony. Instead of the certainty that he was going to be wonderful, he knew he was going to fail. It happened three times in a row, and by the last time nobody was interested, nobody came. He couldn't get over to the audience. His talent was dead.

Of course, if you've had it, you always have something unlike anyone else's. I'll always be unlike anyone else, Axler told himself, because I am who I am. I carry that with me—that people will always remember. But the aura he'd had, all his mannerisms and eccentricities and personal peculiarities, what had worked for Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya—what had gained Simon Axler his reputation as the last of the best of the classical American stage actors—none of it worked for any role now. All that had worked to make him himself now worked to make him look like a lunatic. He was conscious of every moment he was on the stage in the worst possible way. In the past when he was acting he wasn't thinking about anything. What he did well he did out of instinct. Now he was thinking about everything, and everything spontaneous and vital was killed—he tried to control it with thinking and instead he destroyed it. All right, Axler told himself, he had hit a bad period. Though he was already in his sixties, maybe it would pass while he was still recognizably himself. He wouldn't be the first experienced actor to go through it. A lot of people did. I've done this before, he thought, so I'll find some way. I don't know how I'm going to get it this time, but I'll find it—this will pass.

It didn't pass. He couldn't act. The ways he could once rivet attention on the stage! And now he dreaded every performance, and dreaded it all day long. He spent the entire day thinking thoughts he'd never thought before a performance in his life: I won't make it, I won't be able to do it, I'm playing the wrong roles, I'm overreaching, I'm faking, I have no idea even of how to do the first line. And meanwhile he tried to occupy the hours doing a hundred seemingly necessary things to prepare; I have to look at this speech again, and by the time he got to the theater he was exhausted. And dreading going out there. He would hear the cue coming closer and closer and know that he couldn't do it. He waited for the freedom to begin and the moment to become real, he waited to forget who he was and to become the person doing it, but instead he was standing there, completely empty, doing the kind of acting you do when you don't know what you are doing. He could not give and he could not withhold; he had no fluidity and he had no reserve. Acting became a night-after-night exercise in trying to get away with something.

It had started with people speaking to him. He couldn't have been more than three or four when he was already mesmerized by speaking and being spoken to. He had felt he was in a play from the outset. He could use intensity of listening, concentration, as lesser actors used fireworks. He had that power offstage, too, particularly, when younger, with women who did not realize that they had a story until he revealed to them that they had a story, a voice, and a style belonging to no other. The became actresses with Axler, they became the heroines of their own lives. Few stage actors could speak and be spoke to the way he could, yet he could do neither anymore. The sound that used to go into his ear felt as though it were going out, and every word he uttered seemed acted instead of spoken. The initial source in his acting was in what he heard, his response to what he heard was at the core of it, and if he couldn't listen, couldn't hear, he had nothing to go on.

He was asked to play Prospero and Macbeth at the Kennedy Center—it was hard to think of a more ambitious double bill—and he failed appallingly in both, but especially as Macbeth. He couldn't do low-intensity Shakespeare and he couldn't do high-intensity Shakespeare—and he'd been doing Shakespeare all his life. His Macbeth was ludicrous and everyone who saw it said as much, and so did many who hadn't seen it. "No, the don't even have to have been there," he said, "to insult you." A lot of actors would have turned to drink to help themselves out an old joke had it that there was an actor who would always drink before he went onstage, and when he was warned "You musn't drink," he replied, "What, and go out there alone?" But Axler didn't drink, and so he collapsed instead. His breakdown was colossal.

The worst of it was that he saw through his breakdown the same way he could see through his acting. The suffering was excruciating and yet he doubted that it was genuine, which made it even worse. He did not know how he was going to get from one minute to the next, his mind felt as though it were melting, he was terrified to be alone, he could not sleep more than two or three hours a night, he scarcely ate, he thought every day of killing himself with the gun in the attic—a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun that he kept in the isolate farmhouse for self-defense—and still the whole thing seemed to be an act, a bad act. When you're playing the role of somebody coming apart, it has organization and order; when you're observing yourself coming apart, playing the role of your own demise, that's something else, something awash with terror and fear. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Revue de presse

"A literary colossus, whose ability to inspire, astonish and enrage his readers is undiminished'" (Washington Post)

"There is a clarity, almost a ruthlessness, to his work, which makes the experience of reading any of his books a bracing, wild ride... He is the last of the giants" (The Times)

"Roth...knows no limits, which is part of the fun of reading him" (New Stateman)

"While the other big beasts of his literary generation lost it one by one, Roth has enjoyed a flowering of late form barely seen since Yeats." (Literary Review)

"Roth is no longer a novelist of comic exuberance, but of thoughtful meditation about life and increasingly death; he is our surviving laureate of lateness. His new work will not detain you long, but it will linger" (Telegraph)

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Format: Relié Achat vérifié
une histoire classique a la Roth, homme age et jeune fille, qui peut finir par lasser et pourtant .... car cette histoire amoureuse/sexuelle n'est qu'un pretexte a un discours tellement puissant et essentiel : nos masques, nos comedies et nos mensonges. Vivre a l'ecart de soi meme. Le protagoniste ressent une incapacite a continuer a faire l'acteur. Il vit bien, il est celebre mais il ne peut plus faire semblant d'etre quelqu'un d'autre ! Une fois sur scene tout son etre refuse de continuer a etre quelqu'un d'autre et il echoue lamentablement. Une crise s'en suit. Salutaire ou pas ? Va t-il se confronter a son etre ou chercher a rebondir sur une enieme scene ? A lire !
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Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Ce livre est arrivé en excellent état .
Le roman est le constat d'un homme vieillissant,acteur célèbre pour qui tout "fout le camp " .Style sobre.
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Par ML Bach le 27 novembre 2012
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Remarquable! Belle écriture, économe et juste. Les liens entre les différents événements (qui ne vont pas de soi a priori), concourrent à l'atmosphère à la fois dramatique et feutrée du récit.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards)

Amazon.com: 3.3 étoiles sur 5 88 commentaires
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I love reading him 11 octobre 2016
Par blueapple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Roth is my *favorite* contemporary writer, second to no one. He deserves a Nobel Prize for American Pastoral, which I have read four times and his novellas at least twice (The Humbling, Nemesis, Indignation, etc.). Everything he writes is extraordinary and can rip your soul out, so be prepared. But, as Kafka wrote: 'A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us'. Most of Roth's books accomplish exactly that. His psychological insight is extraordinary. I love reading him.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Roth not dead yet 20 novembre 2009
Par David R. Scott - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
'The Humbling' is a novel about everything that Roth has been writing about since he published `The Plot Against America' (TPAA) in 2004: aging, death, lust in old age, betrayal, loss, grief. And while he will probably never write a long novel like TPAA again, 'The Humbling' is as good as anything he's written since then.

It's true that `The Humbling' is very brief. In fact it may have less words than anything Roth's published in the fifty years since 'Goodbye, Columbus'. But it's still a very good read, better written than his last book ('Indignation'), and more entertaining than either of the other two that Roth published after TPAA. Some bad reviews of 'The Humbling' that I've read had lowered my expectations so much, which may have helped me appreciate it, but I really believe that this is a fine work.

'The Humbling' reminds me of a couple of similarly short, focused novels of Roth's last decade ('The Dying Animal' from 2001 and 'Everyman', 2006); and seems to hit the main themes of those two. It has the same kind of tension and steady movement toward a mysterious conclusion -- and the same commitment on Roth's part to profound honesty and well-paced storytelling. He is "painting what he sees" here in terms of both human behavior and the human heart, which is what good artists are supposed to do, whatever talent remains in their own hands, heart, and mind.

Though there are portentious references in it to Anton Chekhov's plays and the lead character is an actor, 'The Humbling' reads more like a short novel by Ivan Turgenev. Like Chekhov, Turgenev was a great Russian writer from the 19th century, who was highly influential as a prose stylist. Roth's new work is arranged in the style and tragic-romantic mood of Turgenev's 'First Love', 'Asya', and 'Spring Torrents', which also deal with the difficulties of infatuation, inter-generational or cross-cultural love, and the compulsions of lust. Those works are very well known and loved in Russia, and like 'The Humbling' they are are all very honest and mature, and are crafted with great respect for the relationships within literature which interlink the tool of language, the art of storytelling, and reality. If you like 'The Humbling', you might enjoy these works by Turgenev, which are roughly as long as 'The Humbling'.

And if you like Roth's past work and you accept that he's no longer willing or able to write long novels, you won't be disappointed in the 'Humbling'.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Listen to Your Agent 25 novembre 2009
Par Ethan Cooper - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Something happens to Simon Axler, a successful actor in his mid-sixties, and he loses his instincts for stage. Concurrently, his marriage collapses and Simon becomes deeply depressed. Concerned about his suicidal thoughts, he checks into a psychiatric hospital, where he establishes a quasi-friendship with a patient whose young daughter has been molested. In a month, Simon stabilizes and is released, but he remains depressed. At this point, his agent appears, urging him to work with an acting coach renowned for rejuvenating dispirited actors. Great parts, such as James Tyrone, are within his reach. But instead of addressing his problems directly, Simon develops a relationship with a 40-year old woman, who has had disturbing effects on her prior lovers.

In telling this story, Roth explores such subjects as performance, instinct, illusion, delusion, and the twisted integrity of the deeply depressed. It's not Roth's best work, because certain elements in the story--molestation, bizarre sexual activity, and cross-generational relationships--are actually distinct subjects, not inverted or inside-out manifestations of the same or similar subjects. As a result, the themes don't tie together with Roth's usual grave discipline and surprising insight.

Nonetheless, THE HUMBLING is yet another demonstration of Roth's masterfully terse style and his unblinking exploration of the plight of his characters. Recommended.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Can't win 'em all 27 février 2012
Par Movie Buff - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
Philip Roth's later period (mid-90s onward) has been a remarkable fruition of wisdom, wry humor, confidence, and refined talent. He is probably America's best living writer, and an all-time great. Although I like the early stuff ("Goodbye, Columbus", "Portnoy" etc.), reading "American Pastorial", "Indignation", "Nemesis" -- really anything since "AP", including...the first section of this short novel -- is to be enthralled by a great writer's sharp insight on American culture and history through prose fiction. That includes the first part of this book, where a renowned actor suddenly loses his ability to act during a performance. His dealilng with the aftermath is scary, bizarre, disturbing... and also slyly (and sometimes screamingly) funny.
Then, it's like Roth grafts on another story and attempts to retrofit the actor's circumstances in. The result is an embarrassing, unbelievable hyper-sexed affair w/ a younger woman (who's also a lesbian, who's also the daughter of old friends, who's also... well, who cares?)
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Can we really be expected to extend our productive working life? 30 janvier 2010
Par Paul Griffiths - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The virtue of brevity, a narrative that flows, deep understanding of the psychological effects of aging, and a multitude of dialogue gems. I shall limit my review to reproducing just a few of the latter:
"When you are playing the role of somebody coming apart, it has organisation and order; when you're observing yourself coming apart, playing the role of your own demise, that's something else, something awash with terror and fear." (p.5)
"Suicide is the role you write for yourself" said Simon Axler, "You inhabit it and you enact it. All carefully staged - where they will find you and how they will find you." Then he added, "But one performance only." (p.15)
"Sure, nothing is perfectly established, but so is nothing permanently lost." (p.30)
Vincent, the actors' coach: "Do one moment. We are only dealing with the single moment. Play the moment, play whatever plays for you in that moment, and then go onto the next moment. It doesn't matter where you're going. Don't worry about that. Just take it moment, moment, moment, moment. The job is to be in that moment, with no concern about the rest and no idea where you're going next. Because if you can make one moment work, you can go anywhere." (p.34)
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