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"I hungrily read the book through in three nights, as though I'd stumbled upon a lost Bellow masterpiece only recently unearthed."
A literary milestone in its own right, this selection of correspondence connects us as never before to one of the greatest writers of our time. Saul Bellow was winner of the Pulitzer Prize, three National Book Awards, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. He also wrote marvelously acute, unsparing, tender, ferocious, hilarious, and wise letters throughout his long life (1915-2005). Including letters to William Faulkner, John Cheever, Ralph Ellison, Cynthia Ozick, Martin Amis, and many others, this vast self-portrait-shows the influences at work in a seminal literary mind.
midnight, falling into bed and sleeping like a stone in the exhaustion of anger and disappointment. So different from our sleep together. In conversation there have been no holds barred but one. To hear and say such things is degrading. But perhaps everything ought to come out. When I’m not quieter at heart, I can’t remember you as I want to remember. That hurts. This afternoon, though, I feel you again, very sweetly inside me. I’m the one in sole charge, from Sunday evening, for most of the
age, and I don’t think I was personally affronted—that’s not my style. The thing was offensive though. Being denounced by [Floyd] Salas as an old shit to an assembly which seemed to find the whole thing deliciously thrilling. [ . . . ] So I left the platform in defeat. Undefended by the bullied elders of the faculty. While your suck-up-to-the-young colleagues swallowed their joyful saliva. No, it was very poor stuff, I assure you. You don’t found universities in order to destroy culture. For that
Strategically her position is invaluable for us and we—Isaac especially—have been getting all kinds of leads from our contact with various editors. For instance, through one of his leads Isaac has become a radio writer for the Jewish People’s Committee and I was to have begun working for Time when I was recalled by my draft board. I am again 1-A; last week I took a second blood test and if my virtue is vindicated I shall be inducted within the next two weeks. Freifeld is rising ever higher in
1st, and they should have arrived long ago. I’ve sent a tracer after them, and they should be coming in one of these days. The reason I bought them is that I want to observe your birthday. You shouldn’t reproach me, since it means something when one is suffering suddenly to remember that since childhood a certain love has existed without changing. The love I have for you is something literal brotherhood never gave me. I have written to Oscar; it’s terrible luck. Is he better? Is he still in the
wondering what the grant amounts to. Well, it’s eight thousand a year for two years, and that’s nothing to complain about. The Foundation assumes that with this base, I can earn what more I need and suffer no undue anxiety. That’s true. But I’ll need to do the play, now, and I can’t see what objection there is to the magazine. It excites me. Isn’t that as good as money? And since I won’t be teaching it’ll be highly beneficial because I need some other kind of interest even when I’m writing.