Saul Bellow Archive

Reading Herzog in 2018

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Saul Bellow’s novel is often characterized as a rich portrait of a mind in crisis. It’s also an exploration of the role of history—and memory—in personal life.

Writing Return: Birthplace and the Perils and Pleasures of Nostalgia

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I’ve often resisted writing about the place I was born. To write about birthplace is to open one’s writing up to a number of potential pitfalls. We feel strongly about the places we come from, and often for uninteresting, arbitrary, or vaguely narcissistic reasons.

A Gathering of Particulars: On Building a Word-Hoard

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It is fitting that the bowerbird roosts in the opening lines of Ted Hughes’s poem “A Literary Life,” for there is perhaps no better mascot for reader and writer both. The species is a known collector, spending the better part of the year building complicated huts from assorted novelties:

Finding the Essential in the Literary Midwest

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About a year ago I was invited to participate on a panel of writers to talk about how being a Midwesterner fits into my life as a writer. It was a tough question. I was raised in Illinois, but had just finished a five-year stint in Texas and was

The Five Books I’d Rescue From the Fire

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I have favorite books. And then I have favorite books, as in, the objects themselves, the ones made weird and irreplaceable by the extra markings in or on them—the annotations, the inscriptions, the love notes. When people ask for my “favorites,” this is the list I actually want to

Not Night Enough

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Guest post by Carol Keeley I wrecked my neck last July–three blown discs, bone spurs, stenosis, a semi-choked spinal cord. For the next eight months, I was unable to write. On a good day, I could type for about ten minutes or write briefly by hand. Then mid-winter, I