After being widely portrayed as a virulent racist and a traitor to his city, Professor Albert Corde, dean of the faculty of Journalism, is forced to leave Chicago. Corde is ill-equipped to handle the outrage that faces him, both as the author of several articles on Chicago’s endemic corruption, and as an outspoken figure in the controversial trial of two black men charged with killing a white student. Travelling to Bucharest to visit his ailing mother-in-law, he is unable to escape the comparisons in his mind between the corrupt and dehumanizing aspects of the communist regime, and the abandoned streets of his home city. Meditating on the juxtaposition between two distant worlds, and obsessing over events that begin to unfold both in Chicago and Bucharest, he begins to concede defeat. In this tormented tale, amid the swirling forces that threaten to drown his humanity, Corde slides ever closer to the brink of desolation.
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About the Author
A fiction writer, essayist, playwright, lecturer, and memoirist, Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937 and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin before serving in the Marines during World War II. Later, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, Bellow served as a war correspondent for Newsday. Throughout his long and productive career, he contributed fiction to several magazines and quarterlies, including The New Yorker, Partisan Review, Playboy, and Esquire, as well as criticism to The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The New Leader, and others. Universally recognized as one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century, Bellow has won more honors than almost any other American writer. Among these, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Humboldt's Gift and the B’nai B’rith Jewish Heritage Award for “excellence in Jewish literature.” He was the first American to win the International Literary Prize, and remains the only novelist in history to have received three National Book awards, for The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler's Planet. In 1976, Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.” Saul Bellow died in 2005 at age 89.
Date of Birth:June 10, 1915
Date of Death:April 5, 2005
Place of Birth:Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Place of Death:Brookline, Massachusetts
Education:University of Chicago, 1933-35; B.S., Northwestern University, 1937
What People are Saying About This
The Dean's December represents Beller's most spirited resistence to the forces of our time.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Dean's December based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Bellow at is typical brillance. Simultaneously the story of one man realizing his limitations, the end of a marriage, and cross cultural conflict.
Sure, Bellow is smart, perhaps too smart, if that's possible. But the themes of 'The Dean's December' (a world of commerce seen through the eyes of an intellect and dreamer, Chicago's corruption placed beside Communism, mankind's disregard for one another and for beauty) are profound and in Bellow's hands handled deftly. This was his first book after being awarded the Nobel Prize and this is often seen as Bellow's heavy and serious book. And though I don't recommend it as a first read for initiates, I found the book beautifully written, intelligent and like all of Bellow's work's, original. Also, it was the first book of Bellow's where he showed a true warmth and affection for a female character. Yes, his books are 'talky' but it is the talkiness of Bellow and his characters that makes his work stand above so much else. Amidst this talkiness are jewels of wisdom. His voice is like no other.