Jay Parini

‘I Am in My Element And I Defy You…’

Saul Bellow: Letters


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‘I’ve never enjoyed writing letters,’ admits Saul Bellow to Ralph Ellison in an undated letter from the mid-1950s. ‘There is some wickedness here and I ought to root it up’, he continues, ‘even if it should mean going to an analyst.’ For a man who hated writing letters and who seems to have dreaded looking in the mirror, there is something contradictory about this volume, as he wrote countless letters and, overall, offers a substantial critique of self.

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