Friday, June 10, 2016

Birthday: Saul Bellow won all the gongs.


Solomon “Saul” Bellow (1915-2005)
Author, professor

Recipient, Guggenheim Fellowship (1948); National Book Award (1954, 1965, 1971); Fellow of the National Academy of Arts (1969); Recipient, The Pulitzer Prize and The Nobel Prize for Literature (1976); the National Medal of Arts (1988)

Born in Canada to Russian immigrant parents, Bellow grew up in Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University. He was a WPA writer in the late 1930s, then joined the merchant marine as World War II broke out.

A 1948 Guggenheim Fellowship paid for a year in Paris, where Bellow had a sudden creative breakthrough leading the the publication of The Adventures of Augie March in 1953. He remained a writer’s writer, holding a succession of teaching posts, into the 1970s; then he hit the jackpot, popularly and critically. A number of his novels became bestsellers; he won all the glittering prizes the world had to offer. He continued teaching, holding posts at Yale, Princeton, Bard, Boston and the University of Chicago, until late in life.

Bellow’s personal life was shambolic; he married five times and divorced four. He fathered four children over four decades; the last was born when Bellow was 84 years old.

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