Bellow: A Biography

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Random House, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 686 pages
3 Reviews
Masterly, original, Bellow: A Biography is an extraordinary achievement, the brilliant and long-awaited biography of the Nobel Prize-winning author of Herzog, The Adventures of Augie March, and other bestsellers. National Book Award nominee James Atlas here gives the first definitive account of Bellow's turbulent personal and professional life, as it unfolded against the background of twentieth-century events--the Depression, World War II, the upheavals of the sixties--and amid all the complexities of the Jewish-immigrant experience in America, which generated a vibrant new literature.
Saul Bellow's parents fled Russia in 1913 and settled with relatives in Canada, where Saul was born. Bellow's boyhood in Quebec and Chicago, marked by his family's transient existence and struggle for economic survival (his father was a bootlegger for a time), provided inspiration for many of the memorable characters and scenes that animate his fiction. It was in Chicago that Bellow came into his own, discovering his unique voice and encountering many of the women, as well as the writers and intellectuals, who were to populate his novels and his life. Atlas draws upon Bellow's vast correspondence with Ralph Ellison, Delmore Schwartz, John Berryman, Robert Penn Warren, John Cheever, and many other luminaries in this rich and revealing account of one writer's experience of America's twentieth-century intellectual and literary history.
As talented as he is enigmatic, Bellow has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award (three times), and, in 1976, the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his eighties, he published a new novel, Ravelstein, and, with his fifth wife, celebrated the birth of his fourthchild.
Detailing Bellow's volatile marriages and numerous tempestuous relationships with women, prominent intellectuals, publishers, and friends, Bellow: A Biography is a magnificent chronicle of the life of one of the premier writers in the English language.

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Review: Bellow: A Biography

User Review  - Jesse K - Goodreads

This is definitely not going to end up being the definitive Ellmannesque biography of Bellow, but it was passable, in some regards. It gave the reader a skeletal outline of Bellow's life and works ... Read full review

Review: Bellow: A Biography

User Review  - Yeti - Goodreads

A brilliant biography that provides valuable insight into the complex writer. A great book that would prove an invaluable resource to anyone who is hesitant to try reading Bellow's own work. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
19
Section 3
38
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

James Atlas is the founding editor of the Lipper/Viking Penguin Lives Series. A longtime contributor to The New Yorker, he was an editor at The New York Times Magazine for many years. His work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and many other journals. He is the author of Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet, which was nominated for the National Book Award.

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