To Jerusalem And Back

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Overview

When he visited Israel in 1975, Saul Bellow kept an account of his experiences and impressions. It grew into an impassioned and thoughtful book. As he wryly notes, "If you want everyone to love you, don't discuss Israeli politics." But discuss them is very much what he does. Through quick sketches and vignettes, Bellow evokes places, ideas, and people, reaching a sharp picture of contemporary Israel. The reader is offered a wonderful panorama of an ancient and modern world city. Like every other visitor to Israel, Bellow tumbles into "a gale of conversation." He loves it and he makes the reader feel at home.

Bellow delights in the liveliness, the gallantry of Israeli life: people on the edge of history, an inch from disaster, yet brimming with argument and words. He delights not in tourist delusions but with a tough critical spirit: his Israel is pocked with scars and creases, and all the more attractive for it. Simply as a travel book, the reader finds remarkable descriptions, such as one in which Bellow finds "the melting air" of Jerusalem pressing upon him "with an almost human weight" Something intelligible is communicated by the earthlike colors of this most beautiful of cities.

The impression that Bellow offers is that living in Israel must be as exhausting as it is exciting: a murderous barrage on the nerves. Israel, he writes, "is both a garrison state and a cultivated society, both Spartan and Athenian. It tries to do everything, to make provisions for everything. All resources, all faculties are strained. Unremitting thought about the world situation parallels the defense effort." Jerusalem's people are actively and individually involved in universal history. Bellow makes you share in the experience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412811842
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,426,787
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago, received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. To Jerusalem and Back was his first work of non-fiction.

Biography

Praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose, Saul Bellow was born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Marines.

His first two novels, Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim (1947) are penetrating, Kafka-like psychological studies. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began his picaresque novel The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954. His later books of fiction include Seize the Day (1956); Henderson the Rain King (1959); Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968); Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970); Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize; The Dean's December (1982); More Die of Heartbreak (1987);Theft (1988); The Bellarosa Connection (1989); The Actual (1996); and, most recently, Ravelstein (2000). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.

Bellow's many awards included the International Literary Prize for Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."

Bellow passed away on April 5, 2005 at the age of 89.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Solomon Bellow (real name)
      Saul Bellow
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 10, 1915
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lachine, Quebec, Canada
    1. Date of Death:
      April 5, 2005
    2. Place of Death:
      Brookline, Massachusetts

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