Customer Reviews for

Herzog (Viking Critical Libray)

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  • Posted April 1, 2013

    Modern-day hero not! A middle-aged whimperer. The story itself i

    Modern-day hero not!
    A middle-aged whimperer. The story itself is fine, but Ithe letters were unbearable.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    This is a great book

    Very frightening!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2001


    After more than 40 years, Saul Bellow's Herzog still appeals to an idealized image of American intellectual life in the post-WWII era. No doubt, Moses Herzog was a hero easily recognizable by the audience Bellow wrote for in 1964, the 'people of powerful imaginations.' Like them he was brilliant, sophisticated and creative. His afflictions were also theirs: indulgence, envy, self-destructiveness, immobilizing self-awareness. Many ached to solve the puzzles of existence motivated, as was Herzog, by the twin dangers to human flourishing of the Cold War and strident behavioralism. Today, these dangers no longer motivate, and readers may find that Herzog is no longer an archetype of the thinking American. It is no doubt true that he is still in some ways like his audience. But, his florid use of words, broad knowledge of letters and mastery of languages is rarer. Acquiring them required of him a disciplined study and perseverance now less fashionable. Near the end, Herzog writes about intellectual perseverance in one of his trademark letters to the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche, telling him that to survive 'you must outlive the pain.' Perhaps pain is for us too high a price to pay for a thoughtful life; perhaps true education is too meager a reward. Whatever his limitations, Herzog is an educated man and a survivor. Bellow's description of his struggle begs us to consider whether we have achieved either, or want to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2001


    Everything about this book is gorgeous, page after page of language at it's finest, each sentence glinting with Bellow's craftsmanship. The novel is wrapped around characters, ideas, and the ironies of the human condition, not so much the action of the plot. It's a stunning piece of work. Smart. Absorbing. Aware.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2000

    Fluent in all particulars

    ' The blood-coloured sunsets of winter and solitude were behind him. They didn't seem so bad now that he had survived them' Bellow records both vague transient emotions and heart-scalding pain with the same unremitting attention to detail. A compelling read and an eye opener to - dare I say it - male sensibility!

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