In one of his finest achievements, Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow presents a multifaceted portrait of a modern-day hero, a man struggling with the complexity of existence and longing for redemption.
Introduction by Philip Roth
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Series:||Viking Critical Library Series|
|Product dimensions:||20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)|
About the Author
Saul Bellow, author of eleven novels and numerous novellas and stories, is the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards. He has also received the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the National Book Award Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Philip Roth, acclaimed author of The Human Stain and many other works of fiction, is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts from the White House.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Modern-day hero not! A middle-aged whimperer. The story itself is fine, but Ithe letters were unbearable.
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.
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.
' 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!