Saul Bellow in 1958

Saul Bellow (1915-2005)

A selective list of online literary criticism for American novelist Saul Bellow, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and web sites that adhere to the MLA guidelines for web pages


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introduction and biography

"Saul Bellow." An introduction to Bellow from textbook publisher Heath.

"Young Saul." By Louis Menand. New Yorker 11 May 2015.

"Saul Bellow." A web site from the (UK) Guardian, contains a brief biography and links to Guardian reviews of Bellow's books and more.

"Interview: Saul Bellow." The Paris Review interview, 1965.

Cusac, Anne_Marie. "Saul Bellow Reconsidered." On Saul Bellow's female characters and his attitude towards women. The Progressive June 2005.

Cronin, Gloria L. A substantial introduction to Saul Bellow ; On Dangling Man (1944); The Victim (1947) ; Seize the Day (1956) ; Henderson the Rain King (1959) ; Herzog (1964) ; Mr. Sammler's Planet (1969) ; Humboldt's Gift (1975) ; The Dean's December (1982) ; More Die of Heartbreak (1987) ; The Actual (1997) ; Ravelstein (2000) [subscription service].

Wasserman, Harriet. A review of Wasserman's Handsome Is: Adventures With Saul Bellow: A Memoir. Wasserman was Saul Bellow's literary agent. Reviewed by Robert Worth, NY Times 29 June 1997 [registration required]; also, the first chapter of the book; another review, by Robert Boynton in Newsday 25 May 1997.


literary criticism: Herzog [1964]

"The Stinking Fog of Falsehood." A 1961 letter from Saul Bellow to Jack Ludwig, the original for the character of Valentine Gersbach in Herzog. In the novel, Gersbach is Herzog's best friend, who steals his wife from him. The plot circles around the real life circumstances in which Ludwig and Bellow's second wife, Sondra, carried on an affair under Bellow's nose without his knowledge, a double betrayal.The Paris Review 27 Feb. 2015.


Bellow and Ludwig became close friends when they were both teaching at Bard College. The photo above is of the Bard English Department in 1953. Bellow is standing, the second from the left; Jack Ludwig is seated, far left.


literary criticism: other works

Corner, Martin. "Humanity and the Everyday: Creatureliness and Textuality in Saul Bellow and John Updike." Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 2, 1 (1996), pp 123-32 [jstor].

Leroux, Jean-Francois. "Exhausting Ennui: Bellow, Dostoevsky, and the Literature of Boredom." College Literature 35, 1 (Winter 2008) pp 1-15 [jstor].

Meyers, Jeffrey. "Bluebeard Bellow." On Saul Bellow's ex-wives, many of whom appear as fictional characters in his novels: Anita Goshkin in Dangling Man, Seize the Day, and Herzog; Alexandra (Sondra) Tschacbsov in Herzog; Susan Alexandra Glassman in Herzog, Humbolt's Gift, and Seize the Day; Alexandra Tulcea in The Dean's December and Ravelstein; and Janis Freedman, his last wife. The Kenyon Review 31, 2 (Spring 2009) pp 160-86 [jstor].

Pinsker, Sanford. "Saul Bellow, Soren Kierkegaard and the Question of Boredom." On Bellow's use of big philosophical ideas in his novels. The Centennial Review 24, 1 (Winter 1980) pp 118-25 [jstor].

Pinsker, Sanford. "Meditations Interruptus: Saul Bellow's Ambivalent Novel of Ideas." Studies in American Jewish Literature 4, 2 (Winter 1978) pp 22-32 [jstor].


web sites and media

Obituary for Saul Bellow, 6 April 2005. "With his death, Saul Bellow has joined the pantheon of writers whose greatness rests not on vogue but on what they say about being human." UK Guardian.

The Saul Bellow Journal. Partial access provided by the subscription service Questia.