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    Saul Bellow, 89, Nobel & Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist Dies

    By: Sherry Dodd – Courier Staff Writer

          Saul Bellow, 89, the Nobel laureate and self proclaimed historian of society who breathed life into American literature in the second half of the 20th century, died April 5 at his home in Brookline, Mass. Bellow’s lawyer and longtime friend, Walter Pozen announced his death commenting he had been in ill health for some time but was still mentally sharp to the end.
          Soloman Bellow was born on June 10, 1915 in Quebec Canada, the youngest of four children of poor Russian Jewish parents. Although brought up in the Jewish tradition, which he called, “a suffocating orthodoxy”, Bellow rebelled. As a child he became ill and the family soon moved to Chicago so his father could find work, there. Bellow found not only a physical, but spiritual home.
          The young boy became a voracious reader who devoured the classics. Fueled by this love of literature Bellow set out to become a serious writer. Graduating with honors from Northwestern University he then won a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin but dropped out to pursue writing short stories. His first effort was published in the Partisan Review in 1941.
          Widely reported as the most important novelist of the post World War II scene, Bellows grew up and spent most of his life in Chicago, of which he made it the first city of American letters. His books reflected his characters to be heros who tended to be dreamers, questers or bookish intellectuals who lived in a stressful, frustrated state of con men and wheeler-dealer types.
          In 1976 the Swedish Academy when awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bellow, describing his works as “exuberant ideas and fleshing irony, hilarious comedy withburning compassion”
          The Nobel Prize was the corner stone of his career with a Pulitzer, three National Book awards, a Presidential Medal of Honor. During his long career he received more awards than any other American writer. Accepting the Nobel, he said: “The child in me is delighted, and the adult in me is skeptical.”
          Phillip Roth commented on Tuesday, “The backbone of 20th century literature has been provided by two novelists, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow. Together they are the Melville, Hawthorne and Twain of the 20th century”.
          English novelist Malcom Bradbury said of Bellows, “His fame, literary, intellect, moral, lay with hisbig books, filled with clever, flowing prose, and their big—more-than-lifesize heros—who fought the battle for courage, intelligence, and a sense of human grandeur”.
          Bellows, who was frequently lumped together with Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud as a Jewish American writer, rejected the label, saying he did not want to be a part of the “Hart, Schaffner & Marks” of American literature and was once quoted to have said: “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus, the Proust of the Papuens?” The remarks, he said, were taken as proof of his insensitivity as “an elitist, a chauvinist, a racist- in a word a monster”.
          In 1993, he left Chicago, his adopted city because he grew “tired of passing the houses of his friends who had died.” He moved to Boston and at the invitation of chancellor John Silber, began teaching at Boston University.
          Explaining why he continued to teach, he stated: “You’re all alone when you’re a writer. Sometimes you just feel you need a humanity bath. Even a ride on the subway will do that. But it’s much more interesting to talk about books. After all, that’s what life used to be for writers: they talk books, politics, history, America. Nothing has replaced that.”
          Throughout Bellow’s life, his approach to his art was always fresh,, “I’ve never seen the world before. Now I was seeing it, and it’s a beautiful, marvelous gift. Enchanting reality! And when the end came, I was told by the cleverest people I knew that it would all vanish. I’m not absolutely convinced of that. If you asked me if I believe of life after death, I would say I was an agnostic. There are more things between heaven and earth, Horatio, etc.”
          Married five times, his current wife, the former Janis Freedman, made him a father again at 84. In addition he leaves three sons, Gregory, Adam and Daniel and six grandchildren.
    Selected works by Saul Bellow:
          Novels: The Adventures Of Augie March, (1953); Henderson The Rain King (1959); Mr. Sammler’s Planet, (1970); Humboldt’s Gift, (1975); More Die Of Heartbreak, (1987); Ravelstein, (2000).
          Short Stories: Mosby’s Memoirs and other Stories, (1968), Collected Stories, (2001).
          Non Fiction: Seize The Day, (1956); To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account, (1976); The Bellarosa Connection, (1989); Something To Remember Me By, (1991).

      
     
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