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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  10,631 ratings  ·  578 reviews
This is the story of Moses Herzog, a great sufferer, joker, mourner, and charmer. Although his life steadily disintegrates around him - he has failed as a writer and teacher, as a father, and has lost the affection of his wife to his best friend - Herzog sees himself as a survivor, both of his private disasters and those of the age. He writes unsent letters to friends and ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (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
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
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
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 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 th
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
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
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
"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
Marzieh rasouli
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 ...more
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
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
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 07, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Usha Alexander
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
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
Sep 27, 2013 Ginny_1807 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
"Dear Sirs, The size and number of the rats in Panama City, when I passed through, truly astonished me. I saw one of them sunning himself beside a swimming pool. And another was looking at me from the wainscoting of a restaurant as I was eating fruit salad. Also, on an electric wire which slanted upward into a banana tree, I saw a whole rat-troupe go back and forth, harvesting. They ran the wire twenty times or more without a single collision. My suggestion is that you put birth-control chemical ...more
"How do you say blond little cushioned knuckles in French?"
"What do women really want? They eat green salad and drink human blood."
"'Do you think that any Christian in the twentieth century has the right to speak of Jewish Pharisees? From a Jewish standpoint, you know, this hasn't been one of your best periods.'"
"It's so fascinating that hatred should be so personal as to be almost loving. The knife and the wound aching for each other."
Happiness was an absurd and harmful idea, unless it was real
This book set off bad chemical reactions in my brain.
Nov 10, 2009 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2002
Lots of writers want to be the kind of writer you'd want to read if there were no plot, at least judging by the MSs I read all day. They think their sentences are so gemlike in their perfection, their observations so irresistibly familiar, their descriptions so apt that people will be willing to follow them for 400 pp just because. Actually, though, there are almost no writers that good. Saul Bellow, in an unpretentious and simple way, is one of them and that's why I love his stuff. (John Barth ...more
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
Harold Griffin
I grimace at how long it took me to discover this master work.

Herzog is a highly intellectual 1960's man much aggrieved, most specifically by the loss of his brilliant spouse to his one-legged "friend" Valentine, but also by the the decline and fall of just about everything. (Imagine how he would feel today!)

Through letters written but not sent, Herzog wrestles with many questions:how to avenge himself, how to regain his beloved daughter, whether to accept the affections of his friend Ramona, ho
David Lentz
I read Herzog after The Adventures of Augie March and am now reading Henderson the Rain King. I'll probably follow it with Humboldt's Gift, which awaits on my night table. In my humble opinion America currently simply doesn't possess a more gifted living writer than Saul Bellow. Herzog's letters to both the living and dead are brilliant epiphanies that showcase the depth of his genius. His writing style is simple, straightforward and captivating for a sensitive reader,who seeks a true literary e ...more
Why should we read Saul Bellow today, and why Herzog?

Bellow, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the only three time winner of the National Book Award for fiction. The Times of London identified him as the greatest writer in English of the past century.

Bellow believed that fiction should address the major social issues and in his words ‘account for the mysterious circumstance of being.’ In his critical essays, Bellow called for ‘a more positive vision of humans as glorious sufferers woun
"Nel tepore del fine pomeriggio, più tardi, accanto all'acqua di Woods Hole, in attesa del traghetto, guardò, oltre l'oscurità verde, la rete di riflessi luccicanti sul fondo. Gli piaceva moltissimo pensare alla potenza del sole, alla luce, all'oceano. La purezza dell'aria lo commuoveva. Non v'era macchia nell'acqua dove nuotavano branchi di latterini. Herzog sospirò. Il suo respiro s'era fatto più libero. Il suo cuore provava una grandissima commozione a quell'orizzonte aperto: i colori fondi; ...more
John David
I remember reading "Henderson the Rain King" and then "Ravelstein" perhaps in my first or second year of university, and thinking they were pedantic and overly contrived. I hadn't read anything by him in the intervening ten years or so. Then, on a fluke, I picked up "Herzog" wondering if I might have learned how to appreciate Bellow. To make a long story short, I read it in a few days, and finished it thinking that it may be one of the greatest American novels of the last fifty years.

Bellow once
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Akins Hollis Engl...: Story of Moses Herzog 1 14 Oct 07, 2011 08:14AM  
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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
More about Saul Bellow...
The Adventures of Augie March Henderson the Rain King Humboldt's Gift Seize the Day Mr. Sammler's Planet

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