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Saul Bellow
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3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,517 Ratings  ·  731 Reviews
Herzog is alone, now that Madeleine has left him for his best friend. Solitary, in a crumbling house which he shares with rats, he is buffeted by a whirlwind of mental activity. People rumoured that his mind had collapsed. But was it true? Locked for days in the custody of his rambling memories, Herzog scrawls frantic letters which he never mails. His mind buzzes with conu ...more
352 pages
Published February 27th 1984 by Vintage/Ebury (A Division of Random House Group) (first published 1964)
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Dave Russell
Dear Saul,
I'm afraid it's over. I can no longer have you on my favorite authors list.
(No, no let go of F. Scott's sleeve. You're only making this harder than it needs to be.) I want to tell you how much I loved Henderson the Rain King. One of my favorites. It was so full of wit and energy. Then I had to go and read this piece of crap, Herzog. Whereas Henderson was an adventure, this was just a big long bitch session. (Hey, give Borges back his cane.) Yes, fine maybe it's me. In fact I'm sure it
Jun 06, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
During the time I was reading "Herzog," NPR coincidentally ran one of its "You Must Read This" pieces, this one by Jeffrey Eugenides and touting Saul Bellow's novel. In the piece, Eugenides says:
There's a little thing I do when I can't write: When I'm feeling sleepy, when my head is in a fog, I reach across my desk, digging under the piles of unanswered mail, to unearth my copy of "Herzog" by Saul Bellow. And then I open the book — anywhere — and read a paragraph.

It always works. Right away I'm
This book has warts – oh, does it have warts…! Like Moses Herzog himself, this book is marred and marked with warts…. But it is a book of genius nonetheless – and not just in parts, but in whole – in scope and in depth….

I rarely write reviews about fiction – I’m not a literary type. One of the very few I’ve written worth reading is that of The Sun Also Rises. Fiction is not amenable to the type of analysis that comes most naturally to me.

Besides, I’ve only been reading fiction, after a long hi
Most of us have one big advantage over rich people and fictional characters when it comes to dealing with our personal issues. For example, look at Moses Herzog in this book. Herzog goes through an ugly divorce, and his circumstances allow him to wallow in his misery and behave erratically for months. I’m sure any of us in similar circumstances would like to put our lives on hold as we picked at our emotional scabs while ignoring our jobs and taking trips across Europe.

However, most of us don’t
To all the people that watched my brave struggle with this book; I dedicate this review to you.
I have really mixed feelings about this one. Was it an absolute struggle to read? Did I fall asleep after a page or two many times? Was I wishing I was reading something else, something were things actually happened, like, I don't know say The Dark Desires Of the Druids III: Desert and Destiny? The answer to all these questions is yes.

Now, was I reading it with a pencil in my hand underlining sentences
Ian GalaDali
The Noble Lion

Moses Herzog is an academic, an individual who is used to seeing himself as a prince, a noble, a patrician, a patriarch. He's not a plebeian. He's not upwardly mobile. He believes he's already at the peak. He's somebody who stands out from the crowd. He has dignity.

He displays "the pride of the peacock, the lust of the goat, and the wrath of the lion." Of these three characteristics, the most significant is that he is leonine (the ultimate compliment Saul Bellow would ever pay anyo
Charles Matthews
Considering that it's a novel with nothing you could call a plot, Herzog is an inexhaustible book. It touches on elemental human relationships (sexual, familial, social) and spins off into lofty philosophical debates, reflections on civilization, on the meaning of death, and on the American experience. It tempts a reader into close analysis while at the same time mocking such analysis. Moses Herzog is at once the most meticulously observed of characters and the most impossible to grasp as a whol ...more

"Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you?"

What is the world for the intellectual? The playground of his ideas or the hell of his emotions? For Moses Hezog, a forty-seven-year old former Professor in a mid-life crisis it is certainly both. Recently gone through a messy divorce and the tragi-comedy of a marital triangle, the hero looks for the cathartic liberation from this emotional ballast in two ways: by writing letters to acquaintances and strangers, to the living and the dead, and by remembering
Jul 22, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-novels
This is rightly perceived to be a classic (4.5 stars), published in 1964. Written well before Bellow became the curmudgeonly conservative of his older age, when he attacked multiculturalism and post-modernism, it was a joy to read.
It concerns the mid-life crisis of Moses Elkanah Herzog; when his second wife Madeleine elects to end their marriage and start a relationship with Herzog’s best friend Valentine. Moses writes letters to and about all those involved (letters that are never posted) and a
Novels without chapters bug me.
Herzog had some sort of dissection; sometimes the prose would be cut, only to be continued a couple spaces below. It still seemed vague and disorganized to me, having been for so long used to chapters and clear division.

I read a measly 18% of this book, and this is what I have to show for it:
This book was extremely hard for me to review. I’m still not completely sure I have a finished opinion on it. It had been on my to-read list forever. And it’s long been on the
Jul 09, 2014 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The intellectual life is a hazardous one. Giving oneself license to question existence generally implies a purpose or basis for doing so. But the world is stubbornly reluctant to keep up with fashionable intellectual trends, and what purpose one ascribes to the intellectual life remains annoyingly subjective. The modern intellectual lives with the legacy of elitism which once made scholarship and thinking in general the natural preserve of aristocrats and well-off hobbyists. Hundreds of years ag ...more
Apr 24, 2012 Elisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preferiti
Ah, la magniloquenza dell'autogiustificazione, pensò Herzog. Che genio sapeva suscitare nei mortali, perfino in quelli con il naso più rosso.

Ah, poveretto!- e Herzog per un momento si unì al mondo obiettivo, e da quell'altezza guardò giù, a se stesso. Anche lui poteva sorridere di Herzog e disprezzarlo. Ma rimaneva sempre il fatto. Io sono Herzog. Io sono obbligato a essere quest'uomo. Nessun'altro può esserlo al posto mio.

Mentre parlavo con una cara amica dell'ultimo film di Woody Allen, all'us
Dec 18, 2013 Io? rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Esamina bene ciò che è comprensibile e concluderai che soltanto l'incomprensibile ti fornisce qualche luce."

Ecco, tutto gira vorticosamente intorno a questo centro di gravità, in un bailamme dove l'ironia sorniona va a braccetto con un caustico ottimismo. Boccata d'ossigeno Bellow, ogni volta che leggo un suo libro immergo la testa in un catino di acqua gelata e poi riemergo con un ghigno da matto stampato in volto esclamando "cazzo, ho capito!!!!" Cosa? Nulla. Accettati così come sei e fatti
Jan 05, 2015 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um livro que me deu muita luta… Agradeço-lhe por isso caro Sr. Moses E. Herzog.

Esta é a auto-análise obsessiva de um homem à procura de um rumo, um rumo que fatalmente encontra nas mulheres, um equívoco ao qual regressa sempre como se fosse um retorno ao útero materno. A tragicomédia de Herzog.

Herzog busca tranquilidade num mundo corrompido, num mundo que o encara como insano e escreve compulsivamente cartas sobre tudo e sobre nada para criar um ponto de equilíbrio e estabilidade na sua vida des
Feb 18, 2016 Gabriele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gabriele by: Fewlas
"Se sono matto, per me va benissimo, pensò Moses Herzog".

(E come fai a recensirlo, un libro così? Bellow va a toccare certe corde che non ti sogneresti neanche, e in una maniera tutta sua. Dietro il personaggio di Moses Herzog si nasconde un mondo di contraddizioni, speranze, incertezze, follie, sentimenti: Herzog è tutto e l'opposto di tutto, e come personificazione di questo tutto rappresenta un po' anche noi. Herzog è un "esperto di quel dolore che vibra di sentimento" [Philip Roth, Rereading
Dear Herzog, Dear Bellow,
This book 'bout the fellow
Down-trodden, seems awfully bleak.
His life's done to Hell, lo
His skin's turned all yellow,
So what is there for him to seek?

Dear Moses, Dear Saul,
Where's gone your wherewithal?
It would seem that you've gone quite astray.
Lost two wives in all,
And your child: a lost doll,
Is it true "every dog has his day"?

Dear lover, Dear debtor,
Forgive me this letter,
I think I have quite lost my marbles!
I swear I'll get better,
Perhaps its the weather
That's making
O Μπελοου είναι σίγουρα ικανός και εξυπνος συγγραφέας και στο βιβλίο υπάρχουν κάποια υπέροχα κομμάτια για τον άνθρωπο, τη φύση και τα πάθη του. Το δράμα του ήρωα όμως καταλήγει πολύ συχνά φλυαρο και, το κυριότερο, υπερ το δεον εγκεφαλικο - μια ψυχροτητα που δεν σε αφήνει να νοιαστεις πολύ για αυτόν και συμπορευεται πολύ συχνά με εναν ενοχλητικό διανοουμενισμο.
Marzieh rasouli
Mar 03, 2013 Marzieh rasouli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هرتزوگ تقریبن تو کتابفروشیا پیدا نمیشه. من تو شهر کتاب آپادانا یه نسخهشو پیدا کردم که معین بهم گفته بود. شاید هنوز داشته باشه ازش. هرتزوگ ماجرای زندگی مرد محقق و روشنفکریه که زنش به گا دادهش. برای همه نامه می نویسه و اشتباهاتشون رو بهشون گوشزد میکنه. از رئیسجمهور گرفته تا مقاله نویس روزنامه و آدم هایی که سالها از مرگشون می گذره. مهرجویی بعضی از صحنههای هامون رو عینن از رو هرتزوگ کپی کرده. مثل اون صحنهای که هامون به زنش غر میزنه که اینا چیه رفتی براشون پول دادی. چند تا تیکهی درخشان داره رمانه. یه ...more
Sep 27, 2013 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ginny_1807 by: Io?
Shelves: romanzi
«Io vado alla ricerca della realtà con il linguaggio. Forse vorrei cambiarla tutta in linguaggio».

Nevrotico, tortuoso, ribollente, verboso, magmatico.
Un viaggio interiore - altalenante tra angoscia ed ironia, tra narcisismo e autolesionismo, tra razionalità e farneticazione - per risalire la china dal baratro più profondo dello squallore, della solitudine, del fallimento di una intera esistenza. Di intellettuale, marito, figlio, amico, padre e individuo.
L'indagine e le argomentazioni sulle pers
Usha Alexander
Oct 10, 2009 Usha Alexander rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book is highly literate in an abstract way; Bellow makes some fragmented, interesting--if dated and naively ethnocentric--observations about some aspects of the world. But since the book lacks the dimensions of plot and characterization and has other novelistic flaws, better it had been a collection of essays, in my opinion.

This was a book I only read about three-quarters of the way through; I wasn't able to finish it. The characters are so flimsy as to be caricatures. And the main characte
Jan Rice
May 27, 2013 Jan Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The plot is slight. Basically, Moses Herzog, a 47 year old man living in the early 1960s in New York and Chicago, an academic, a grandson of immigrants, has done okay, as long as he was in a stable marriage while having affairs whenever opportunity and desire presented itself. He is not doing okay now, though, because he fell into love and infatuation and married the object of them, ditching the first wife. Now wife no. 2 has manipulated, used, and left him for a best friend. In the course of th ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 07, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 and 1001 Must Read Books
This book was published in the year I was born: 1964. I will also always remember this book in the years to come because I read in while struggling with my jet lag here in Columbus, Ohio. I started reading this while in the stopover in Nagoya, Japan on my way here.

This book has won a number of accolades: National Book Award in 1965, All-TIME Magazine 100 Greatest Novels and listed both in the 501 and 1001 Must Read Books. It is said to be the major reason for Saul Bellow's bagging of the Nobel P
May 10, 2013 Noce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Metti che poi perdi le staffe

Ebbene signori miei, cosa sarebbe successo se Moses Herzog avesse avuto un blog?

Avrebbe sicuramente fatto parte della vecchia scuola, forse antesignano della piattaforma di Splinder. Lì avrebbe esercitato le sue migliori doti di grafomane, scrivendo post tutti i giorni e non di rado più volte al dì; avrebbe intavolato discussioni, inveito contro destinatari universali, sfogando le sue frustrazioni e intervallando fiumi di parole irate a poetici sguardi disillusi sul
Jun 01, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read this, I was living in the Berkshires not far from Herzog--or at least, not far from Norman Mailer in the summers. (Mailer would take his grandson-aged son to the Berkshire AA baseball games, in his Corvette.) Even closer than Herzog and Mailer lived two Russian BSO violinists and a Hungarian trombonist, in the summers. I improved my Russian through their aegis, but not my Hungarian. I was a college professor like Herzog, though not as sought-after by different institutions, nor yet a ...more
Vit Babenco
Feb 26, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An authentic intellectual is always an outsider or even an outcast.
“He didn't feel that Poggioli had done full justice to certain important figures – Rozanov, for instance. Though Rozanov was cracked on certain questions, like the Jewish ritual bath, still he was a great figure, and his erotic mysticism was highly original – highly. Leave it to those Russians. What hadn't they done for Western Civilization, all the while repudiating the West and ridiculing it!”
So like a hermit crab one should f
Mar 03, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
At first I was finding this book a bit misogynist, neurotic, hypocritical and tedious, punctuated by some really wonderful poignant, hilarious, tender, and heart wrenching moments.

I thought Bellow had redeemed himself by the end and found myself liking this book quite a lot. Herzog is definitely Bellow himself, and although flawed and neurotic like many of us, I was convinced of his sincerity by the end and feel that through his journey I really got to become quite intimate and empathetic with
Sep 18, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel begins, told in the third person, the narrator fully aware of Herzog’s thoughts and feelings but apparently of no one else’s, everyone else being described from Herzog’s point of view. The language is delightful, wry and perceptive, punctuated by Herzog’s sardonic comments to himself. Bellow uses metaphor richly and creatively, skillfully crafting a picture of Herzog’s irony as well as his suffering. The reader is immediately drawn to this man and into his life, genuinely caring about ...more
May 12, 2012 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving it five stars even though i started it three years ago, got to page 162 then gave up...a few weeks ago i gave it another go and i am delighted i was a joy, i think i gave up on it because it is so intensely focussed inside one individual's mind and that mind is convoluted and confused and sometimes on the edge of sanity, but i think one needs to go with it, luxuriate in the style and prose because every page has at least one breathtaking sentence, my version is peppered with ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, aere-perennius
I can't imagine what it would have been like to have read this when it first was published. The power, the storm, the frenzy of Bellow's words is amazing. It is almost impossible to compare him to another writer. I don't mean to say that he is a better writer than others. It is just hard to group or contain him. He isn't bounded by boundaries. Sure, he is a madman, but there are no institutions built to contain him.
Apr 01, 2016 Jorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No conocía nada del Premio Nobel de Literatura 1976 Saul Bellow y debo decir que me cautivó su estilo con esta novela llamada Herzog. La temática: un intelectual judío profesor de literatura que pasa por una crisis aguda en su vida.

La novela se desarrolla entre dos grandes ciudades norteamericanas Chicago y Nueva York y digamos que a principios de los años 60. Estos temas me atrapan de inmediato: crisis existenciales, escritores, músicos, esgrima filosófica, luchas internas, etc. Pues bien, mis
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Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago, received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

Mr. Bellow's first novel, Dangling Man, was pu
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