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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Language and Literature

First Advisor

Clair C. Lalson

First Committee Member

Charles Check

Second Committee Member

JH Kertle

Third Committee Member

M Morcke

Fourth Committee Member

Clais C Olson

Fifth Committee Member

P Heryton


While there is an understandable reticence on the part of critics of contemporary American literature to make definitive judgements, there does seem to be a general consensus that the novels of Saul Bellow represent the contemporary American novel at its best. Moreover, this consensus comes not only from critical journals with an exclusive and limited circulation, it also is to be seen in publications of wider appeal, the weekly news magazines and the book reviews of daily newspapers. What is even more astonishing is that the reading public seems to agree with the critics and book reviewers; at this writing, Bellow's Herzog is a "best-seller."

To reveal the greatness of man that is founded upon his subangelic nature--this is Saul Bellow's announced intention. To the extent that he reveals such a being, and how he creates that being are the subjects of this study. It is important to understand, however, that this is not a philosophical treatise. Nor has it to do with sociology, nor with psychology. It is a literary study, and as such is concerned with the "how" of Saul Bellow's characters. We would, of course, expect to gain a greater appreciation of his people through this study, more understanding of their well springs and motivations, but the emphasis is to be on Bellow's art. In any case, with the approach of "technique as discovery," to use Mark Schorer's term, it is hoped that an examination of the novels of Saul Bellow published to date will serve to illuminate his strictures on the subangelic figure, as well as to clarify what seems to be one of the major literary achievements of our times.





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