“What Henry James did for the geographically disoriented, Bellow does for the culturally traumatized in the six stories gathered in this collection. Truly, Bellow is one of God’s spies.” –Los Angeles Times
A Penguin Classic
In six darkly comic tales, Saul Bellow presents the human experience in all its preposterousness, poignancy, and pathos. In the title story, a professor well-known for his wit struggles to animate his memoirs as he teeters on the brink of despair; in “the old System,” a distinguished biochemist tries to find room in his life for love; and in “A Father to Be,” a man is startled to find himself seated next to his future adult son on a New York subway. The other stories, too, reflect Bellow’s special ability to depict men and women confronting, in highly idiosyncratic ways, the enigmas and oddities of existence.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Saul Bellow was praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose. Born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, he 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); Ravelstein (2000); and, most recently, Collected Stories (2001). 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 include 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."
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
Table of Contents
Mosby's Memoirs and Other StoriesLeaving the Yellow House (1957)
The Old System (1967)
Looking for Mr. Green (1951)
The Gonzaga Manuscripts (1954)
A Father-to-Be (1955)
Mosby's Memoirs (1968)
What People are Saying About This
“Darkly funny…taut, compressed, with splendid dialogue” –The Sunday times (London)
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