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Authors: Saul Bellow

Letters

BOOK: Letters
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VIKING
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published in 2010 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
Copyright © Janis Bellow, 2010 Introduction copyright © Benjamin Taylor, 2010 All rights reserved
 
A small portion of the Introduction and a number of the letters first appeared in
The New Yorker.
 
Photograph credits
INSERT ONE:
Pages 1
(all),
3
(bottom),
5
(bottom): Courtesy of Janis Bellow;
2
(top),
4
(bottom),
8
(top): Courtesy of Nathan Tarcov;
2
(bottom),
3
(top left and right, middle): Courtesy of Sylvia Tumin;
5
(top): Photograph by Polly Forbes-Johnson Storey;
6
(top right): Fred W. McDarra h/ Getty Images;
6
(bottom): © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art;
7
(top): AP Photo;
7
(middle): Courtesy of Kentucky Library and Museum, Western Kentucky University;
7
(bottom): Photograph by Evalyn Shapiro, used by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated;
8
(bottom): © 2010 Nancy Crampton INSERT TWO:
Pages 1
(top): Joan M. Elkin;
1
(bottom),
2
(top): © 2010 Nancy Crampton;
2
(bottom),
7
(top),
8
(bottom): Courtesy of Janis Bellow;
3
(top): AP Photo / Greg Marinovich;
3
(middle): Estate of Evelyn Hofer;
3
(bottom): Courtesy of Smadar Auerbach-Barber;
4
(top): Paul Buckowski/Times Union (Albany);
4
(bottom): The University of Chicago;
5
(top),
8
(top): Nancy Lehrer;
5
(bottom): © Cella Manea, by permission of Cella Manea and The Wylie Agency;
6
(top): Boston University Photography;
6
(bottom): Marco Fedele di Catrano;
7
(bottom): Rachael Madore
 
eISBN: 9781101454961
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INTRODUCTION
 
“This Caring or Believing or Love Alone Matters”
 
 
 
 
W
hen urged to write his autobiography, Saul Bellow used to say there was nothing to tell except that he’d been unbearably busy ever since getting circumcised. Busy with the making of novels, stories and the occasional essay; with romance, marriage, fatherhood, divorce, friendship, enmity, grief; with the large-scale events of history and small-scale events of literary life; with the prodigious reading habit and dedication to teaching that saw him into his later eighties. Busy, not least, corresponding. The great authors are not all so good at letters; indeed, you could make a considerable list of figures of the first rank who were perfunctory correspondents. It would seem to be a separate gift, as mysterious as the artistic one. Looking over the best letter writers in our language of the last century—Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Hart Crane, Katherine Anne Porter, Evelyn Waugh, Samuel Beckett, John Cheever, William Maxwell, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Flannery O’Connor, James Merrill—one finds every sort of personality and no common denominator. Some kept diaries, others did not. Some were prolific, others produced relatively little. The most one can say is that each led a rich additional life in his or her correspondence, rich enough to have become a part of literature itself.
BOOK: Letters
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