Saul Bellow (born June 10, 1915 as Solomon Bellows in Lachine , Québec , Canada , † April 5, 2005 in Brookline , Massachusetts , USA ) was an American writer and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature . His multiple award-winning novels , short stories and essays earned him the recognition of being one of the most important representatives of Jewish-American literature of the 20th century alongside Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth .
Youth and first literary work
Saul Bellow was born Solomon Bellows in 1915 in Lachine, a suburb of Montreal , to a Jewish immigrant family from Saint Petersburg who emigrated in 1913. Bellow spent the first nine years of his life in a multilingual poor district of Montréal, in which numerous Jewish immigrants mainly from Eastern and Southern Europe lived. In addition to English and French, the young Saul Bellow learned Hebrew and Yiddish , which he also spoke at home. He was brought up Orthodox and, according to his mother's wishes, would later become a Talmudic scribe . In 1924 the family moved to Chicago , which Bellow then considered his home and made the setting for many of his works. He himself and his literary work were influenced throughout his life by the Eastern-Jewish urban environment in which he grew up.
In 1934 he began his studies at the University of Chicago , which he continued from 1935 at Northwestern University . There he received his bachelor's degree in social anthropology and sociology in 1937 and then worked at the University of Wisconsin . He married the sociologist Anita Goshkin and worked as a journalist , later as a university professor of literature. For a short time he was also an employee of the Encyclopædia Britannica . He belonged to the international Salzburg seminar .
His early existentialist diary novel Dangling Man attracted attention in 1944. Here the action revolves around a young man who has given up his work in a travel agency to be ready for his call-up. The waiting state in the period between December 1942 and April 1943 makes him that dangling man , ie the “man in limbo”, who experiences the dissolution of his identity and the distance from his former self without any objective. This state of limbo, described in the title of his first novel, as well as the discrepancy between willingness and ability or requirement and feasibility, which the protagonist understands as a dilemma of humanity, also expresses a basic state of mind that is also characteristic of many of the later main characters in Bellow's narrative should be. With his first novel, Bellow also prepared a new direction in American literature: his first novel not only showed Bellow's profound knowledge of the important works of world literature, but also, with its focus on the thematization of the inner alienation and isolation of the protagonist, marked a detachment from the in the aesthetic stoicism prevailing in the 1940s, shaped by the literary model of the Hemingway hero .
Bellow's literary breakthrough came after his initial success in 1953 with the picaresque novel The Adventures of Augie March , whose life-hungry hero, in his attempt to try out different ways of life, clearly stands out from the more passive, reflective and doubting or desperate characters from his earlier works. In the same decade, Bellow published two other novels, Seize the Day (1956) and Henderson the Rain King (1959), which made him increasingly known internationally. While Augie March encompasses an action period of more than three decades in a loose sequence of episodes, the again rather depressing events in the tightly structured short novel Seize the Day are concentrated on the period of a single day on which the 44-year-old protagonist and his previous one Life and come to the conviction that it has failed in crucial areas. In his attempt to build up a strange self, he has taken on burdens and obligations that he can no longer bear. In the end, it remains to be seen whether he will succeed in realizing the Carpe-diem motif of Horace that is echoed in the title in a new life plan. The hero in Henderson the Rain King , who appears as the first-person narrator and who, as a multiple millionaire, suffers no material hardship, is also looking for a satisfying purpose in life and new self-determination. He embarks on a journey to Africa and experiences a series of fantastic, tragicomic and grotesque adventures that repeatedly question his life plans. However, he does not give up and manages to pass the tests he has to face. In doing so, he finally experiences a kind of spiritual rebirth with a spontaneous turning towards the neighbor.
Bellow achieved a great commercial success with the tragicomic novel Herzog , published in 1964 , which many critics consider to be his most artistically successful and most demanding work. In it he dealt with philosophers such as Spinoza , Nietzsche and Heidegger (or with the more distant Oswald Spengler ). In doing so, he took a European as well as an American point of view, trying to combine two identities. With this novel, Bellow triggered a strong response worldwide and also opened up a readership in Germany. The work's title character, Moses Herzog, is a respected Jewish intellectual and university professor who is on the verge of a mental breakdown after the breakdown of his marriage and deep disappointment in his best friend. In order to come to terms with himself again and to realign his present and future, he tries to collect and organize the elements of his life so far, including his childhood memories of life in the Jewish immigrant ghetto of Montreal. He tries to capture his thoughts by writing countless letters to his friends, acquaintances and relatives or to famous personalities of his time, but also of the past. In coping with his personal life crisis, Herzog thus leads, on the abstract level of rationalization, to the confrontation with philosophers and scientists from different times, whose statements he critically reviews. This intellectual inventory of his time, in which Bellow lets the reader participate, ends with Herzog's decision against a fashionable nihilism . He comes to the conviction that the value of man and the finding of meaning for his life are shown precisely in the fact that he proves himself in life and overcomes his personal and practical problems of existence.
The main theme of Bellow's works is the situation of the male, Jewish intellectual in today's USA, who without religious affiliation seeks his way in the struggle of life, especially confused in the struggle of the sexes. The locations of his novels are mainly New York and Chicago. His own minority experience sensitized him to social antagonisms; at the same time he was always a keen assessor of cultural tendencies and changes. In the older years of the author, the protagonists in the works become active characters who master their fate and have an impact on their environment.
In 1976, Bellow received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the human understanding and subtle cultural analysis that are united in his work”. Shortly before, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the novel Humboldts Legacy (English Humboldt's Gift ) .
Despite receiving the Nobel Prize and numerous other awards, Bellow did not achieve the same level of recognition and admiration from the general reading public or in public as other important American authors of the 20th century, such as William Faulkner , F. Scott Fitzgerald or, above all, Ernest Hemingway.
Bellow was married five times, including to the mathematician Alexandra Bellow . He left three sons and a five-year-old daughter at the time of his death.
- The Adventures of Augie March . Novel. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1956, ISBN 978-3-596-17871-1 ( The Adventures of Augie March , 1953).
- The rain king . Roman, Cologne 1960, ISBN 3-462-02649-6 ( Henderson the Rain King , 1959).
- The business of life . Novel. Translation of Walter Hasenclever. Cologne 1962, ISBN 3-462-02650-X ( Seize the Day , 1956).
- Duke . Novel. Translation of Walter Hasenclever . Cologne 1965, ISBN 978-3-596-17870-4 ( Herzog , 1964). ( No. 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list in 1965 and 1966 )
- The victim . Novel. Translation of Walter Hasenclever. Cologne 1966, ISBN 3-404-92059-7 ( The Victim , 1947).
- The final analysis . A piece in 2 acts, Cologne 1968 ( The Last Analysis , 1965).
- Man in limbo . Roman, Cologne 1969, ISBN 3-462-02920-7 ( Dangling Man , 1944).
- Mr. Collector's Planet . Novel. Translation of Walter Hasenclever. Cologne 1971, ISBN 3-404-92060-0 ( Mr. Collector's Planet , 1970).
- Mosby's memoirs and other stories , Cologne 1973, ISBN 3-462-00941-9 ( Mosby's Memoirs , 1968).
- Humboldt's legacy . Roman, Cologne 1976, ISBN 978-3-596-17872-8 ( Humboldt's Gift , 1975).
- To Jerusalem and back. A personal report . Cologne 1977, ISBN 3-462-01206-1 ( To Jerusalem and Back , 1976).
- A silver bowl. The old system . Zwei Erzählungen, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3-462-01417-X ; A separate silver bowl : Insel-Bücherei , Volume 1059, Leipzig 1983.
- December of the dean . Roman, Cologne 1982, ISBN 3-462-01517-6 ( The Dean's December , 1982).
- The one with his foot in his mouth and other stories , Cologne 1985, ISBN 3-462-01686-5 ( Him With His Foot in His Mouth , 1984).
- More die of a broken heart . Roman, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-462-01968-6 ( More Die of Heartbreak , 1987).
- A theft . Roman, Cologne 1991, ISBN 3-462-02096-X ( A Theft , 1989).
- Bellarosa Connection . Roman, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-462-02162-1 ( The Bellarosa Connection , 1989).
- So that you will remember me , Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-462-02243-1 ( Something to Remember Me By , 1991).
- How it was, how it is . Essays, essays, interviews. Cologne 1995, ISBN 3-462-02404-3 ( It All Adds Up , 1994; abbreviated by the author).
- The real deal . Roman, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-462-02703-4 ( The Actual , 1997).
- Ravelstein . Roman, Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-462-02919-3 ( Ravelstein , 2000).
- Erzählungen , Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-462-04331-0 ( Collected Stories , 2000).
- 1954: National Book Award (for The Adventures of Augie March )
- 1958: Elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
- 1965: National Book Award (for Herzog )
- In 1969, Bellow was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .
- 1971: National Book Award (for Mr Collector's Planet )
- 1976: Pulitzer Prize (for Humboldt's Gift )
- 1976: Nobel Prize in Literature
- 1980: O. Henry Prize (for A Silver Dish )
- 1980: PEN / Malamud Award
- 1984: Officer of the French Legion of Honor
- 1988: National Medal of Arts
- In 1998 he became an elected member of the American Philosophical Society .
- 1986: The Business of Life ( Seize the day )
- Harold Bloom (Ed.): Saul Bellow - Modern critical views. Chelsea House Publishers, New York 1986, ISBN 978-08775-4622-1 .
- James Atlas: Bellow. A biography. Faber and Faber, London 2000, ISBN 0-571-14356-3 .
- Paul Michael Lützeler : Obituary for Saul Bellow. In: Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, Yearbook 2005, pp. 121–122.
- Malcolm Bradbury : Saul Bellow. Routledge, London 2011 (first edition 1986), ISBN 978-04155-6802-9 .
- Zachary Leader : The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915–1964 . Jonathan Cape, London 2015, ISBN 978-0-307-26883-9 .
- Zachary Leader: The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and strife, 1965-2005 . Jonathan Cape, London 2019, ISBN 978-0-224-10188-2 .
- Martin Christadler (ed.): American literature of the present in single representations (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 412). Kröner, Stuttgart 1973, ISBN 3-520-41201-2 .
- Literature by and about Saul Bellow in the catalog of the German National Library
- Works by and about Saul Bellow in the German Digital Library
- Saul Bellow in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Saul Bellow in the nndb (English)
- Saul Bellow (1915-2005) . In: Jewish Virtual Library . Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- Sanford Pinsker: Bellow, Saul - Article on the life and work of Saul Bellow in the Oxford Research Encyclopedias - Literature from July 2017 (English)
- Information from the Nobel Foundation on the 1976 award to Saul Bellow
- In some sources such as The Encyclopedia Americana (1971), Lexikon der Weltliteratur (1988) or Encyclopedia of World Literature (1999) July 10, 2015 is given as Bellow's date of birth. See Saul Bellow (1915-2005) . In: Jewish Virtual Library . Retrieved April 9, 2015. According to his attorney, quoted in the New York Times obituary of April 6, 2005, Bellows usually celebrated his birthday in June: “[...] his birthdate is listed as either June or July 10, 1915, though his lawyer, Mr. Pozen, said yesterday that Mr. Bellow customarily celebrated in June. (Immigrant Jews at that time tended to be careless about the Christian calendar, and the records are inconclusive.) "
- See Martin Schulze: History of American Literature . Propylaen-Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-549-05776-8 , p. 546. See also Franz Link: Saul Bellow . In: Franz Link: American storytellers since 1950 - Topics · Contents · Forms . Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn u. a. 1993, ISBN 3-506-70822-8 , pp. 96-120, here in particular p. 96.
- See Wolfgang P. Rothermehl: Saul Bellow . In: Martin Christadler (ed.): American literature of the present in individual representations. Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-520-41201-2 , pp. 69-104, here pp. 71 and 99. See also David Galloway: Saul Bellow, "The Gonzaga Manuscripts" (1956). In: In: Peter Freese (Ed.): The American Short Story of the Present: Interpretations . Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1976, ISBN 3-503-01225-7 , pp. 168-174, here s. 168. See also Saul Bellow (1915-2005) . In: Jewish Virtual Library . Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- See Wolfgang P. Rothermehl: Saul Bellow . In: Martin Christadler (ed.): American literature of the present in individual representations. Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-520-41201-2 , pp. 69-104, here pp. 99f. See also Saul Bellow (1915-2005) . In: Jewish Virtual Library . Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- See Wolfgang P. Rothermel: Saul Bellow . In: Martin Christadler (ed.): American literature of the present in individual representations. Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-520-41201-2 , pp. 69-104, here pp. 69f. See also Franz Link: Bernard Malamud . In: Ders .: American storytellers since 1950 - Topics · Contents · Forms . Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn u. a. 1993, ISBN 3-506-70822-8 , pp. 120-135.96-120, here p. 97. Cf. also Sanford Pinsker: Bellow, Saul. Published online in July 2017 in the Oxford Research Encyclopedias - Literature  . Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- See Franz Link: Bernard Malamud . In: Ders .: American storytellers since 1950 - Topics · Contents · Forms . Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn u. a. 1993, ISBN 3-506-70822-8 , pp. 120-135.96-120, here pp. 104-108. See also Heiner Bus: Jewish-American Literature . In: Hubert Zapf (ed.): American literary history . JB Metzler, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-476-01203-4 , pp. 440-453, here p. 447.
- See Franz Link: Bernard Malamud . In: Ders .: American storytellers since 1950 - Topics · Contents · Forms . Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn u. a. 1993, ISBN 3-506-70822-8 , pp. 120-135.96-120, here pp. 108-112. See also Heiner Bus: Jewish-American Literature . In: Hubert Zapf (ed.): American literary history . JB Metzler, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-476-01203-4 , pp. 440-453, here p. 447.
- The Roth quote is taken from the Bellows obituary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of April 6, 2005. See Saul Bellow, "The Backbone of 20th Century American Literature . " Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- See The Nobel Prize for Literature 1976 - Saul Bellow ( Memento of the original from April 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . On: nobelpreis.org . Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- Sanford Pinsker: Bellow, Saul. Published online in July 2017 in the Oxford Research Encyclopedias - Literature  . Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- Members: Saul Bellow. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed February 15, 2019 .
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Book of Members ( PDF ). Retrieved April 15, 2016
- Member History: Saul Bellow. American Philosophical Society, accessed April 28, 2018 .
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American writer|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 10, 1915|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Lachine|
|DATE OF DEATH||April 5, 2005|
|Place of death||Brookline|