Read Pdf Herzog By Saul Bellow –

Herzog, than any other, reveals James Joyce s influence over the novels of Saul Bellow It is for much of its length an internal conversation conducted by Moses Herzog with himself, some of which he occasionally commits to paper as part of a series of notes to personages both dead and alive, ranging from existentialist philosophers to his former sexual partners He remembers his hardscrabble childhood, with his family s migration from Canada to Chicago, echoing Bellow s own, and the struggles of his father in making a living, including his foray into bootlegging which earns him a serious beating.Occasionally other people intrude He spends a night with his latest girlfriend, Ramona He rather creepily stalks his ex wife Madeleine and her partner at her home one night, watching them through the window He takes his daughter to the zoo carrying an antique pistol, loaded, wrapped in a blanket of czarist roubles, is involved in a minor car crash and finds himself in the police station charged with possession of an unlicensed weapon In amongst this he travels around New York, Chicago and his country pile in the Berkshires.For the reader there is little doubt that Herzog is a little unhinged How else to explain his resentment at the anger displayed by Madeleine when she collects their daughter from the police station How else to explain the capricious wanderings by train, plane and automobile How else to explain the compulsive scribblings Some of Herzog s musings reveal a streak of misogyny It is not possible to say definitively that this reflected Bellow s own attitudes, but some of the circumstances in the book reflect Bellow s own at the time His musings in particular on his treatment by Madeleine suggest it is she, not him, who is the crazy one he twists her every action so it appears to him a part of a typical feminine conspiracy effected over a long period of time which somehow included marrying him and having his child just out of spite In his later novel, Humboldt s Gift, the protagonist Charlie Citrine finds himself strung along by Madeleine s alter ego, Renata, who ends up dumping Citrine in favour of an undertaker Ramona on the other hand ostensibly represents a different side of women, nurturing, forgiving But she, too, is able to dump lost causes, and it is possible to see Ramona and Renata, and therefore also Madeleine, as the same woman, just seen from different angles.Returning to this novel after forty years my college dissertation addressed the works of Bellow I was struck by how much it is a novel of its time Published in 1964, it represents a time before the collapse of the post second world war boom the big battles of the Civil Rights struggles of the sixties were yet to come, and the counterculture was still in the wings It is instructive to read it to acquire a sense of what in those days were common modes of discourse, even in the context of liberal art, on a variety of subjects More prosaically, it is shocking to find Herzog being questioned in the police station, following his road accident, with an untreated head wound Surely, it occurred to me, a cop nowadays would ensure somebody involved in such an incident would first receive medical attention to ensure there is no concussion Different times, different priorities, apparently.Malcolm Bradbury, in the Introduction, suggests that this is Bellow s best novel, but I don t agree Humboldt s Gift I would say is better executed, has a interesting worldview, and is also amusing Herzog has its moments, and is certainly a fine piece of literature, but four decades on I was less captivated by rereading this than I was when I reread Humboldt s Gift a couple of years ago But all that means is that it s worth trying both to see if it s me or Malcolm you agree with. RO HERZOGInBroch Etat d usage, Couv l g rement pli e, Dos frott , Pliurespages Petite annotation au dos du e plat Classification DeweyLangue anglaise Anglo saxon We follow a middle aged academic as he writes countless unsent letters to friends and luminaries, dead and alive, while travelling around New York and elsewhere, contemplating his imminent divorce.Less a novel of ideas than a novel about a man who is in love with ideas, this is one of Bellow s most celebrated works, with a typically verbose and pensive protagonist Moses Herzog is a shambling intellectual, a university lecturer without a permanent position a man who gives the impression of poverty, despite being a property owner who is able to book air journeys at short notice who bemoans his romantic failures whilst recounting his numerous sexual liaisons who muses constantly on ethics while, one might argue, behaving unethically.When I first read this book many years ago, Herzog seemed like a confused old man now that I m somewhat older than him, that impression remains It seems, to some extent, to be a self portrait by the author he was the same age as his leading character at the time the novel was written, and the narration veers seamlessly between third and first person.Bellow s style is remarkable discursive and learned but fluent and entertaining, and replete with beautiful, startlingly original turns of phrase The hot tear was often in his magnanimous ruddy brown eye My whole life beating against its boundaries, and the force of balked longings coming back as stinging poison Herzog is a joy to read, but the self indulgent protagonist is hard to love, even as one empathises with his frustrations. Although I found it something of a long and drawn out read there was much in this novel I found easy enough to appreciate.A man struggling to make sense of his life and the world may not have any ground breaking significance but I liked the character Moses Herzog I liked his questioning style I liked his humanity I could understand his craziness and human fragility He might have been slightly mad and removed from the normal but really he was just one of us Sad a bit mad but not bad. Herzog is one of those books which you feel you should read rather than one you want to read It reads like an important book than an enjoyable book It is IMHO, a book for academics and students of literature.Personally I felt little connection with Herzog, partly because I am not a Jew, because I am not an American and most because I don t understand the references that are scattered throughout the book.However, his character did eventually appeal and I even felt myself strangely identifying with him at times I also appreciated Bellow s style of narration with the switches between first and third person and the movement from past to present tense.Yes, I m pleased that I read it.