Saul Bellow: 1915-2005: Part Wise Man, Part Wiseguy

Saul Bellow: 1915-2005

I am an American, Chicago born," opens Saul Bellow's early masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March, "and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted." For nearly six decades, Bellow kept that vow. Dangling Man, his first novel, published in 1944, when Bellow was only 29, heralded the arrival of a new voice. Defiant, brooding, charged with a shrewd irony about our human prospects, it was a novel of ideas, a Europeanized American book.

Not a great deal happens in the novel: a cerebral, surly young...

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