“The most important writer in English in the second half of the twentieth century…Bellow’s oeuvre is both timeless and ruthlessly contemporary.” –Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times (London)
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."
Stanley Crouch’s books include Notes of a Hanging Judge, The All-American Skin Game (Nominated for the National Book Award), and a novel, Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome. He has received the Whiting Writer’s Award and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award.
Judging from the lengthy screeds many readers have levelled at other Bellow books such as Henderson the Rain King and Humboldt's Gift, I surmised (even though I, in fact, read and... Read morePublished on July 26 2001 by "calico30"
Mr. Sammler is a Polish Jew who escaped death at the hands of the Nazis at the cost of sight in one eye.
He is a survivor. Read more
I'm an avid reader, but I admit to being a little lost while reading Bellow's Mr. Sammler's Planet. Overall, I liked the book. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2000 by zeni
This review is to refute some of the negative customer reviews. Anyone who is reading only for plot is reading on a very superficial level. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2000
This was my second attempt at Bellow. I started with the very short and enjoyable "Seize the Day" and jumped into this. Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2000
This book is an important and fascinating study of the human will. What drives us to act? When action is taken, what determines how and why we act as we do? Mr. Read morePublished on June 21 2000 by a reader
An often hilarious, always thought-provoking, fascinating book. While it may seem to be thick reading at times, it is well worth it--an entertaining and humanist novel.Published on May 3 2000 by Edward A. Olson