If Bellow was extreme in this regard, he was still well within the normal range of male chauvinism for his day. This is stated about five or six times! But the women still came flocking round. After the first drink he was anti-black said the critic Leslie Fiedler , after the second anti-Jew; after the third anti-women; after the fourth anti-the human race.
And he couldn't write women characters well, this is a very common complaint going back to Dickens - which male novelist does write great female characters except for James Joyce? There is a sameness to the wives and girlfriends who populate his books, harassing his women-baffled heroes. From the bitter Iva of Dangling Man to the brutal emasculating Madeleine of Herzog, the wives in Bellow all come off as harpies, while the mistresses - the buxom, lingerie-sporting Ravenna in Herzog, the hot number Renata in Humboldt's Gift - exhibit an intimidating sexual rapacity.
Well, God help us if literature is a beautiful baby competition. I guess none of this matters. View all 3 comments. Jul 31, Jesse rated it really liked it.
Much as the moon shines her bright face down upon us bringing much needed luminescence to the dark night, writers give us novels, stories, prose and poems that act as a bright human connection in the dark worlds we inhabit within our skulls. But the moon has a side she hides from us — a flash-frozen surface lacking light and heat, devoid of reflected refulgence and seas of tranquility. Yet this same raw material is also a life lived and often a traumatic, spectacular failure. And yet Bellow saw this dark side as a necessary spherical half which supports the bright shining moiety which graces us terrestrial readers with a necessity: a connection that acts as a salve for loneliness.
But at what cost is this salve produced? Reading this biography was my own private Apollo mission.
And as I floated past the bright edge of literature and across the chiaroscuro divide between fact and fiction, I found myself staring at the darkened surface of a failed life. Saul Bellow was born in Canada but, like his most irrepressible character Augie March, his spiritual home was always Chicago. Bellow lived his life in much the same way as Augie: constantly moving from thing to thing, person to person, and consistently blaming his failings on other people, thinking that they are trying to corral his freedom, force his conformity.
Bellow saw this everywhere he looked, from wives to publishers, critics, editors, even friends who were not fawning enough - who lacked sufficient sycophancy; all could come in for a brutal fictional treatment. This, of course, was a large reason for his domestic failures. It seems fidelity was just another form of conformity. He was survived by a handful of Mrs. Maybe Bellow would have been a poor father and horrendous husband whether he wrote books or not and if his brothers were any hint, he probably would have been pathetic at both. In other words, the darkness would have been there regardless and at least Bellow - through a Yawehistic twist - managed to turn that darkness into a literary light.
But I wonder if his sons feel the same way, or one of the Mrs. For me personally, I think these racist, misogynistic writers are more a product of their era, and as they age these insidious cultural memes harden into drab stelae celebrating the gloriousness of Western white traditions. Add to this a fear and ignorance that come with aging in a changing world and you have a full blown racist who quickens his step when a black reader tries to approach him, wanting to tell him how much his books meant to him: sad.
This is a phenomenon that is seen fairly frequently. The idea of persecution: of a larger system trying to mold and repress the individual who is always a Bellovian avatar: well-read, with a nagging wife, and chronically misunderstood. Thus what was good for his fiction was massively detrimental in his interpersonal relationships. Bellow had a genuine belief that these were organized cabals, out to get him: either as an asset or an enemy.
His narrow narcissism which is reflected in his fiction leads to only one conclusion: Bellow is a fairly typical sociopath. And this is what saddens me about so many great artists, whether they are writers, musicians, painters, etc. They always have an oversized ego that topples their personal happiness - as well as those around them.
And yet they use their collapsing life to create their art. This is the paradox of the great artist: an extraordinary ability to understand human interaction and motivation belied by utter failure in personal life and an ego-led blind spot when it comes to their own sins. But does an artist really choose this life? In some ways, yes. Bellow could never distinguish between his art and his life; his themes, his purpose, his sense of worth, were all blended: he could never see the sharp distinction between his dark side his life and his bright side his art.
It may be that Bellow was fully cognizant of all these differences but used apathy as a shield against personal suffering - inhabiting a character to protect the performer or: method-acting as self-protection. Or it could be that the act eventually became the man. Either way the egoism is the same: the family still destroyed for art. The answer is elusive and finally unanswered. Artists and suffering have been seen as concomitant partners — the former using the latter as a way to turn pain into joy, or in a more metaphysical sense, death into life.
Rephrased: while trying to turn death into life, he ignored the life that he was currently immersed in - like a man starving to death while cooking a four course meal, when a pizza is sitting in front of him on the table. But that can be the draw of art and its creation: a chance to be more than just banal and unsexy, a chance to communicate with millions of current and future souls all reaching out for a human connection and finding your work at the other end.
To Saul Bellow it seemed to be worth a failed family life. To others it may seem too steep a price to pay. As sure as the sun rises, it will some day have us: all of our books, music, history and heartache. But this is too far a reach for me when the low hanging fruit of requited love and personal fulfillment hangs ripe on the tree of life, just waiting for me to stand up and seize it. View all 4 comments. Mar 09, Russel Henderson rated it really liked it. A fine, personal biography that was not unsympathetic to its subject but did not shy away from his personal or professional shortcomings.
The bio provides a comprehensive, perhaps too comprehensive, look at the personal and particularly intimate life of its subject, but as a literary biography it successfully explicates themes in and across novels and contextualizes them within the American literary scene, past and contemporary.
Bellow: A Biography - James Atlas - Google книги
If I could tender a criticism, aside from the excessive dwelling on A fine, personal biography that was not unsympathetic to its subject but did not shy away from his personal or professional shortcomings. If I could tender a criticism, aside from the excessive dwelling on Bellow's sex life, it would be the relatively short shrift afforded his nonfiction works, but it's a tepid criticism. It may have worked out because of a great personal affinity that Atlas discovered between himself and his subject.
Schwartz suffered from bipolar disorder: his life was a tragic story of immense promise unfulfilled. Later, Atlas was diagnosed with the same illness.
There was something fateful about meeting Bellow. Perhaps this encounter should have warned Atlas off, but he grew increasingly fascinated with Bellow. He was never authorized, but he wrote a biography anyway. Over the years it took Atlas to research the book, his relationship with Bellow grew increasingly rancorous. This struggle was complicated by how much Atlas admired Bellow. Writing a biography, he found, could be emotionally complicated.
But comparing himself to a celebrated novelist like Bellow was much less flattering than comparing himself to a forgotten poet like Schwartz. The process engendered envy and self-doubt:. But sometimes I felt: What about my life? There comes, inevitably, a moment of rebellion, when the inequality begins to chafe. A thousand pages along, a decade in, the biographer cries out: What am I?
Chopped liver? Deal with it. The envy may have turned into resentment, and the resentment may have infected his prose. Through a series of unmailed letters, many of them highly comic, Herzog finally resolves his struggles by achieving self-control.forum2.quizizz.com/photoshop-paso-a-paso.php
Bellow: A Biography
In Bellow became a professor at the University of Chicago, a post that allowed him to continue writing fiction and plays. The Last Analysis had a brief run on Broadway in Sammler's Planet , elevated Bellow's reputation. Bellow's later novels did not receive the same praise. The Dean's December and More Die of Heartbreak retained his style, but some disliked the bitter tone that had never shown up in previous Bellow works.
After Bellow released a number of novellas that met with similarly mixed reviews.