For over forty years Saul Bellow has been writing fiction that denounces the destructive forces that have dominated the literature of this centuryexistential nihilism and historicist pessimism. In novel after novelThe Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, Humbolt's Gift, Mr. Sammler's Planet, and othershe has tried to restore the integrity of the private life, the value of human feeling, and the primacy of social contract, while proclaiming each individual's perennial access to age-old truths.
In this collection of interviews spanning the period from 1953 to 1991, Bellow elaborates further upon his fictional treatment of these ideas. Here the reader finds the wit and urbane commentary that typify this marvelous writer. He speaks with his interviewers of the changing role of fiction, the literary establishment, and the place of literature in modern life. Since no definitive biography of Bellow has yet been written, these interviews provide valuable insights into the writer that many argue to be the pre-eminent American novelist of the post-World War II era.
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Saul Bellow:In literature, too, the question is:what is one to tell that will be truly interesting, and how can a writer compete with the great events of this century? What is he going to say after the revolution of 1905, World War I, the Russian revolution, the rise of Fascism, the great depression, World War II, the atomic bomb and all these other tremendous movements of destiny which have charmed mankind out of its shoes?