Bracing for Amis too is a late essay of Bellow’s, ‘Wit Irony Fun Games’ – ‘quite possibly the last thing he ever wrote’ – that insists that ‘most novels have been written by ironists, satirists, and comedians’. Amis concludes, ‘The novel is comic because life is comic.’

Readin’ that line in this review of Martin Amis, The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump – Essays and Reportage, 1986–2016, by Christian Lorentzen over on Literary Review

So I says, let’s get a copy of this late essay of Bellow’s and see what he has to say.  I’ve never read much Saul Bellow.

Sure enough it’s pretty good!  Here in “Wit Irony Fun Games” he talks about Lincoln’s humor:

This, in an essay about FDR, gives backstory I didn’t know to the story of the attempted assassination:

In this essay, Bellow says his famously controversial comment about “who’s the Tolstoy of the Zulus” was all a misunderstanding:

He likes Zulus, and Papuans as well:

Papuans probably have a better grasp of their myths than most educated Americans have of their own literature.  But without years of study we can’t begin to understand a culture very different from our own.  The fair thing,, therefore, is to make allowance for what we outsiders cannot hope to fathom in another society and grant that, as members of the same species, primitive men are as mysterious or as monstrous as any other branch of humankind.

3 Comments on “Bellow”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting… Do you recommend the book?

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