Saul Bellow: Letters (Hardback)
  • Saul Bellow: Letters (Hardback)

Saul Bellow: Letters (Hardback)

Hardback 608 Pages / Published: 04/11/2010
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A never-before-published collection of letters - an intimate self-portrait as well as the portrait of a century. Saul Bellow was a dedicated correspondent until a couple of years before his death, and his letters, spanning eight decades, show us a twentieth-century life in all its richness and complexity. Friends, lovers, wives, colleagues, and fans all cross these pages. Some of the finest letters are to Bellow's fellow writers-William Faulkner, John Cheever, Philip Roth, Martin Amis, Ralph Ellison, Cynthia Ozick, and Wright Morris. Intimate, ironical, richly observant, and funny, these letters reveal the influcences at work in the man, and illuminate his enduring legacy-the novels that earned him a Nobel Prize and the admiration of the world over. Saul Bellow: Letters is a major literary event and an important edition to Bellow's incomparable body of work.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780670022212
Number of pages: 608
Weight: 951 g
Dimensions: 240 x 165 x 45 mm

Best of 2010 Lists "The New York Times," Michiko Kakutani's Top Ten of 2010
"The Washington Post," John Yardley's Best of 2010
"Minneapolis Star Tribune"
"It comes as no surprise to find that the great novelist was a great correspondent as well. I hungrily read the book through in three nights, as though I'd stumbled upon a lost Bellow masterpiece only recently unearthed."
?Philip Roth
"In the "Letters," as in everything he wrote, Saul Bellow never dipped below a certain level?and that level is stratospheric."
?Martin Amis
"These aren't dashed-off notes, but letters that required considerable care and meant much to the author, as he expresses affection and support for other writers (Ellison, Roth, Malamud, Cheever, Amis et al.), takes critics and journalists to task with well-formed arguments and offers critical commentary on the culture that provides the context for his work (a culture that no longer values the art of writing letters)."
Best of 2010 Lists

"The New York Times," Michiko Kakutani s Top Ten of 2010

"The Washington Post," John Yardley s Best of 2010

"Minneapolis Star Tribune"

It comes as no surprise to find that the great novelist was a great correspondent as well. I hungrily read the book through in three nights, as though I d stumbled upon a lost Bellow masterpiece only recently unearthed.
Philip Roth

In the "Letters," as in everything he wrote, Saul Bellow never dipped below a certain level and that level is stratospheric.
Martin Amis

"Saul Bellow: Letters "is a treasure trove. It s fascinating to see one of our great American writers take form.
Nathan Englander

Magnificent The man is all here in this book, in his stunning, almost baffling plenitude. Bellow s letters are one of Bellow s greatest books. Benjamin Taylor records that it contains only two-fifths of what Bellow called his epistling, but its riches are nonetheless immense. Taylor has selected and edited and annotated these letters with exquisite judgment and care. This is an elegantissimo book. Our literature s debt to Taylor, if our culture still cares, is considerable.
Leon Wieseltier, "The New York Times Book Review "

Full of those wonderful vignettes that pepper his books, comic and perceptive at the same time There s so much going on here, such swift and impassioned dialogue between the spiritual and the physical, the place and those who inhabit it, that, as so often in his books, we can only gasp in joyful wonder.
"The Wall Street Journal"

Masterfully edit[ed].
"Vanity Fair"

A hefty, handsome volume Chatty yet polished, and always vibrant, Bellow s letters serve as the autobiography he never wrote.
"Los Angeles Times "

You must read this. If you re a lover of prose, someone who knows how to savor the taste of a scrumptious sentence, then you ll find morsels aplenty to set your eyes rolling to the back of your head in indecent pleasure.

Studded with brilliant passages Just as Bellow s novels teem with the turbulence of raw immediate experience burnished by the refiner s fires of insight, emotion, and style, his letters make clear that his life was the source of that connected fullness.
"The New Yorker"

A window into literary genius.
"London Review of Books"

Arresting, seizing the reader by the lapels and refusing to let go Bellow is a gifted and emotionally voluble letter writer. The Bellow that floats to the surface in this volume is a close spiritual relative of the heroes who populate his fiction: a seeker and searcher who also happens to be a first-class noticer; an intellectual, deep in what he once called the profundity game, who is constantly trying to balance the equation between rumination and action, solipsism and distraction, the temptations of selfhood and the noise of the real world.
Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"

Bellow s sheer brio, his occasional feuds and deep friendships, his unquenchable enthusiasm for being human, and his incomparable prose, make this collection of letters an absolute must for anyone who is remotely interested in American literature of the 20th century.
"The Financial Times"

Bellow was an exceptionally astute man. He was also formidably well-read, an intellectual in the deepest sense of the word but also a lover of pleasure in many forms. His collected letters are probably the last book we shall have from him, and a very good one.
"The Washington Post"

Drollery, mordancy, tenderness, quick-draw portraiture, metaphysical vaudeville, soul talk, heart pains, the whole human mess Saul Bellow s letters are a Saul Bellow novel, the author himself the protagonist. A Saul Bellow novel! A gift from the grave, like Humboldt s. The great voice again, the peerless voice.
William Deresiewicz, " The Nation"

Reveal[s] Bellow s unfailingly high quality as a correspondent Scarcely a letter in this volume is without an amusing phrase or arresting insight or interesting formulation.
"The New Criterion"

Feisty, smart, but most of all thrillingly intimate, these letters ripen and mature as they go along, just as some people do.
"Chicago Tribune"

These letters are rich in gossip, declarations of love and ambition, praise, criticism, and commiseration; the most touching among them are to the writers for whom he had tender feeling (John Berryman, Ralph Ellison, John Cheever) and those who appealed to him for help (William Kennedy, Wright Morris).

So richly characteristic on every page. What makes Bellow rare, possibly unique, among the great writers of the past century was [his] conviction that seeing had a metaphysical warrant, that perception, and the recording of perception, was not a pastime but an assignment.
Adam Kirsch, "The Times Literary Supplement "

The letters are all zest and craving and demand so many journeys, so many cities, so many liaisons, so many courtings, so many marriages and partings, so many spasms of rage, so many victories and downers, so many blue or frenetic melancholias and grievances; but cumulatively they add up to a rich montage of knowing, speckled now and again with laughter, that most metaphysical of emotions.
Cynthia Ozick, "The New Republic"

The virtue of these letters is found in their compassion.

Ben Taylor s meticulously edited and annotated volume of Bellow s letters provides the most intimate glimpse we have yet received of how this voice emerged. Bellow s language in letters, as in fiction, is stunning. His is an English both earnestly and adoringly cerebral and earthy, drawing on the cadences of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Hyde Park Trotskyism, the high-church intellectualism of the University of Chicago, and the guys and dolls patois of Damon Runyon.
"Jewish Review of Books"

Flecked with remarkable judgments on the people he knew Bellow s letters reveal him as a restless, agitated truth-seeker, not unlike many of his characters.
"National Post"

These letters crackle with wit, often wicked and nonetheless satisfying for that.
"Commonweal Magazine"

Wonderful offers a strong salve to Praise for "Saul Bellow: Letters""

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