What Saul Bellow Saw https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/arts-culture/2019/10/what-saul-bellow-saw/

The Jewish writer who became America’s most decorated novelist spent his early years prodding the nation’s soul. Then, sensing danger to it, he took up the role of guardian.

October 7, 2019 | Ruth R. Wisse
About the author: Ruth R. Wisse is a Mosaic columnist, professor emerita of Yiddish and comparative literatures at Harvard and a distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Her memoir Free as a Jew: a Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation, chapters of which appeared in Mosaic in somewhat different form, will be published in September.

Saul Bellow shortly after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. Keystone/Getty Images.

In May 1949, a year after the establishment of the state of Israel, the American Jewish literary critic Leslie Fiedler published in Commentary an essay about the fundamental challenge facing American Jewish writers: that is, novelists, poets, and intellectuals like Fiedler himself.

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