Saul Bellow's "Herzog" and the Notion of Identity Book Review by write123

Saul Bellow's "Herzog" and the Notion of Identity
An analysis of the many aspects of Moses Herzog's personality as portrayed in Saul Bellow's "Herzog."
# 106332 | 13,297 words | 30 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jul 31, 2008 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper analyzes the content of Saul Bellow's novel, Herzog." It specifically focuses on the many sides of Herzog's personality that emerge throughout the course of the book. It discusses Herzog as an intellectual, as transcendentalist, as an immigrant, as a Jewish American, as emblematic of the city and as a writer. The paper concludes that we are left with a portrait of a complex, confused and difficult individual who none-the-less comes to terms with himself.

Table of Contents:
Herzog as Intellectual
Herzog as Transcendentalist
Herzog as Immigrant
Herzog as Jewish American
Herzog as Emblematic of the City
Herzog and the Role of Writing

From the Paper:

"While this transcendentalist impulse keeps Herzog firmly rooted in the American tradition, he is never fully able to escape his European roots. As an immigrant, he is quintessentially American in a way - never fully "here" nor "there." He persistently holds on to the vestiges of the European tradition, as they are what unites him with history. He is afraid to let go of this history, afraid to fully let himself merge into the whimsicality of the present, and is thus afraid of the future. As Herzog remarks about the interior of a home: "The furniture was richly polished, old, of a vanished Central European epoch - but then this present epoch is vanishing, too, and perhaps faster than all the others" (Bellow 1964, p. 46).
"Like most of Bellow's protagonists, Moses Herzog is an American Jew. This positions him, despite his fairly conventional outlook on life, outside of the American mainstream, whether he likes it or not. Herzog feels most comfortable when he is in the company of other Jews, whether they be familial acquaintances or enemies - at least he knows where he stands with them."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Amis, Kingsley. Stanley and the Women. London: Vintage, 1984.
  • Assadi, Jamal. Acting, Rhetoric, and Interpretation in Selected Novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Saul Bellow. New York: Peter Lang, 2006.
  • Atlas, James. Bellow. New York: Random House, 2000.
  • Bellow, Saul. The Adventures of Augie March. New York: Viking, 1953.
  • Bellow, Saul. The Bellarosa Connection. New York: Penguin, 1989.

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