Saul Bellow

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Lachine, Quebec
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Lachine, Quebec

Saul Bellow was a well-known American novelist and writer who was born in Canada. He was raised in a Jewish family and rose to prominence as a representative figure for Jewish-American writers whose works influenced American literature after WWII. In his long academic career, Saul Bellow wrote novels, short tales, non-fiction works, and plays. He used to travel frequently as part of his teaching career, teaching at prestigious universities such as Yale University, Princeton University, Boston University, and Bard College, among others. Saul Bellow’s literary works, according to critics, were characterized by their representation of the contemporary urban guy who was dissatisfied with society but not broken in spirit. His work earned him the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Book Award, among other honors. He is the only fiction writer to win the National Book Award three times. Many consider him to be the backbone of American literature in the twentieth century. Before and after his death, several biographies were written about him.

Childhood and Adolescence

On June 10, 1915, in Lachine, Quebec, Canada, Saul Bellow was born Solomon Bellows to Lescha and Abraham Bellows. Maurice was his brother.
He loved reading as a child and began learning Hebrew at the age of four. After reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ he decided to pursue writing as a vocation.

His orthodox mother hoped for him to become a violinist or a rabbi. He, on the other hand, opposed the concept and pursued his passion for writing. When he was 17, his mother died.

He moved to Chicago with his family when he was nine years old. He went to Tuley High School before attending the University of Chicago.

He was then moved to Northwestern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology with honors. He also studied Anthroposophical studies at the Anthroposophical Society of Chicago while in Chicago.

Saul Bellow’s Career

He began his career at the Works Progress Administration in Chicago in the 1930s. Along with other writers including Nelson Algren and Richard Wright, he was a member of the Writer’s Project.

He joined the United States Merchant Marine when World War II broke out. During this time, he finished his first novel, ‘Dangling Guy,’ about a man who is waiting to be selected for service in the army during World War II. In 1944, it was published.

He taught intellectual history at the University of Minnesota from 1941 to 1946. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1948, which allowed him to fly to Paris. He began work on his book ‘The Adventures of Augie March while in Paris, and it was published in 1953.

In 1961, Saul Bellow began teaching creative writing at the University of Puerto Rico in Ro Piedras. He returned to Chicago the next year to join the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought as a lecturer.

The Committee on Social Thought was established with the goal of allowing teachers to engage with gifted students using a variety of techniques and learning methodologies. For 30 years, Saul Bellow taught here.

He wrote his best-selling work, ‘Herzog,’ in 1964, about a professor who writes letters to students and friends but never posts them. The novel was a financial success, and TIME magazine named it one of the 100 best novels in the English language from “the dawn of time.” It also won the National Book Award for Fiction in the United States.

Mr. Sammler’s Planet, his novel, was released in 1970 and went on to win the National Book Award for Fiction the following year. The titular character in the novel sees how affluence and leisure have worsened human suffering.
In 1975, he published his novel “Humboldt’s Gift,” which investigated the dynamic link between art and authority in materialist America. The book was interpreted as a story about culture’s increasing commoditization.

His most famous works focused on the uncomfortable nature of modern civilization. The majority of his works portrayed Jewish characters who stood up to society’s bad components. His novels were influenced by Jewish life and had a lot of affection for America and its vibrancy.

The National Endowment for the Humanities picked him for the Jefferson Lecture in 1977. It is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government for achievements in the humanities. His presentation was titled ‘The Writer and His Country Examine Each Other.’

Between late 1981 and early 1982, he worked at the University of Victoria as a visiting Lansdowne scholar and ‘Writer-in-Residence.’

Even in his later years, Saul Bellow took on teaching jobs, and in 1993 he relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts, to teach at Boston University. He lived in Massachusetts for the rest of his life.

Saul’s Major Projects

Saul Bellow wrote a variety of critically acclaimed and award-winning novels, short stories, and plays. ‘The Adventures of Augie March,’ ‘Mr. Sammler’s Planet,’ ‘Herzog,’ and ‘Humboldt’s Gift’ are among his best-known works.

Achievements and Awards

Three times, Saul Bellow won the National Book Award for Fiction. He received the award for ‘The Adventures of Augie March’ in 1954, ‘Herzog in 1965, and ‘Mr. Sammler’s Planet’ in 1971.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1976 for his novel “Humboldt’s Gift.”
In 1976, he was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

He received the O. Henry Award in 1980.
In 1988, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

He won the ‘Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award and the ‘PEN/Malamud Award’ in 1989.
In 1990, the National Book Foundation presented him with a lifetime ‘Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.’

Personal History and Legacy

During his lifetime, Saul Bellow was known to have several love relationships. He had been married five times, four of which ended in divorce. In 1937, Saul Bellow married Anita Goshkin, and the pair had a son, Greg Bellow, who later became a psychologist. They parted ways in 1956.

In 2013, his son Greg Bellow released the book “Saul Bellow’s Heart: A Son’s Memoir.”
He married Alexandra (Sondra) Tschacbasov in 1956, and they had a son named Adam. In 1959, the couple divorced. His son Adam released the book ‘In Praise of Nepotism in 2003.

In 1961, he married Susan Glassman. They were married for only three years and divorced in 1964.
He married Alexandra Ionescu Tulcea, a mathematician, in 1974. However, in 1985, the couple divorced.

In 1989, he married Janis Freedman. Rosie, their daughter, was born in 1999.
Saul Bellow died in Massachusetts on April 5, 2005. At the time, he was 89 years old.

Estimated Net worth

Saul is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. Saul Bellow’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


Only as an illegal migrant to the United States, did Saul Bellow become a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1941.