Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Memoriam: Saul Bellow

Author Saul Bellow died April 5 in Massachusetts. He was 89. Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and was the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times.

A native of Quebec, Canada in 1915, a nine-year-old Bellow moved to Chicago where he read Shakespeare and the Bible. He later moved - to Minnesota, Paris, Puerto Rico, and New York - but returned to Chicago where he worked at the University of Chicago.

He first novel, Dangling Man (1944), was followed by National Book Award winners Herzog (1964) and Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970), and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Humboldt's Gift (1975).

Two friends of Bellairs’ – Al Myers and Marilyn Fitschen – have shared with us the story of the special place in the realm of Bellairsia reserved for Bellow. Shortly after the publication of Bellairs’ second book, The Pedant and the Shuffly (1966), there was an autograph session held at Staver's Bookstore in Chicago. Bellairs recalled later how Bellow entered the store, picked up a copy of Pedant, riffed through it, and gave it a derogatory snort before moving on.
"No realistic, sane person goes around Chicago without protection." - Bellow

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