London : Faber, 2000. First UK edition. Near fine cloth copy in a near-fine, very slightly edge-nicked dust-wrapper. Remains particularly and surprisingly well-preserved overall; tight, bright, clean and strong. Item #239810
Physical description; xiv, 686 pages,  pages of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Notes; Includes index. Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary; This biography of the Nobel-Prize-winning writer Saul Bellow explores how the child of poor Russian Jewish imigrants became a world-famous author. It demonstrates how Bellow's work thrived on contradiction and adversity, and his belief in the unfettered human spirit. Review: Atlas's biography of Saul Bellow, surely America's greatest living novelist, has been ten years in the writing and has been awaited for a long time. Like many writers, Bellow has always been suspicious of biographers; but Atlas has always seemed particularly suited for the task. He knows Chicago and the complex Russian-immigrant Jewish culture, first in Montreal, then in the Second City, in which Bellow grew up, and which provided him with most of his essential fictional material. He is a serious critic of modern American writing, and the biographer of Delmore Schwartz, who was the Humboldt of Bellow's Humboldt's Gift. This is a fully detailed biography, a dense work of research, excellent on the cultural scene, the postwar emergence of American writing, and the social flavour of the times. Yet it also portrays a Bellow of many flaws: a compulsive womanizer, a competitive and jealous rival to other writers, a man of sharp reactions and bitter opinions. At times it is hard to remember that the biographer's subject is also the author of some of the greatest, wisest, soberingly analytical and philosophical of modern novels. What this book - which is splendidly written - does clearly show is the intensely autobiographical nature of all Bellow's large output of fiction, based as it is on brilliant cultural memory, an amazing gift for portraiture, and a loving desire to detail his own universe and its social and political textures, as well as a great moral and intellectual force. Now in his mid-80s, Bellow emerges from this colourful life as a grainy and remarkable figure, as well as the source of some of our finest works of fiction. Review by MALCOM BRADBURY (Kirkus UK). Subjects; Bellow, Saul — Biography. Bellow, Saul 1915-2005. Novelists, American — 20th century — Biography. Novels, other prose & writers. Literary studies: from c 1900 -. French. BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General. LITERARY CRITICISM / General. LITERARY CRITICISM / European / French. Genre; Biography. Illustrated.