Saul Bellow's Fiction

Saul Bellow's Fiction

Saul Bellow's Fiction

Saul Bellow's Fiction

Excerpt

Saul Bellow is probably the most important living American novelist. Although he has not yet reached the limits of his talent, he has already produced six novels which deserve close study.

This book is arranged simply. In the first chapter I explore the world of Bellow as it appears in Two Morning Monologues, his first published story. Then I discuss five themes -- moha, madness, time, masquerade, and Jewishness -- which seem to be his basic ideas. In the third chapter I limit my discussion to his characters. In the next two chapters I chart those images and styles which express or incarnate theme and character. And my final chapter, before the brief conclusion, is devoted to Herzog which exemplifies impressively his fictional achievement.

From the following chapters the reader can see that I am biased-I omit biography (using Bellow's nonfiction as my only "biographical" references); I limit my discussion of his relatively weak stories; I am "vertical" rather than "horizontal." But I hope that my approach is, despite these omissions or limitations, a valid one to Bellow's fictional kingdom.

I wish to thank the Corporation of Yaddo for a residence fellowship in the summer of 1963. I also thank Saul Bellow, A. M. Heath & Company, Ltd., The Viking Press, and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Ltd., for permission to use extracts from Seize the Day, Henderson the Rain King, Herzog, and The Adven tures of Augie March.

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