HERZOG AS A NOVEL: DR. HARESHWAR ROY



INTRODUCTION:



 The recipient of several literary awards and the winner of The Nobel Prize Saul Bellow is one of the most scrutinized writers in contemporary American literature. He has been praised for producing insightful and compelling fiction. As a novelist he rejects the orthodoxy of modernism. He claims a place of honor along with Donate, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Dostoievski. Herzog is one of his finest achievements. It is one of the most extraordinary literary creations of modern times.
HERZOG:

Herzog is one of Bellow's best novels, written at the height of his career. It marks the beginning of the third and golden phase of Bellow's literary career. It is a novel set in 1964, in the United States. It is about the midlife crisis of a middle-aged professor named Moses E. Herzog. Here Bellow presents a multifaceted portrait of a modern-day hero. He is a man struggling with the complexity of existence and longing for redemption. Herzog's relationships with women and friends and also with society and himself are the central theme of this novel. Letters from the protagonist constitute much of the text. His own thoughts and thought processes are laid bare in these letters.
PLOT:



The plot construction of Herzog is praiseworthy. It is well made. Herzog is a novel set in 1964, in the United States. It is about the midlife crisis of a middle-aged professor named Moses E. Herzog whose life had come to a standstill. He is just emerging from his second divorce. He has two children, one by each wife.  He loves his children but is mostly an absentee father.They are growing up without him. He is currently in a relationship with a vibrant woman, Ramona. He agonizes over his condition. He is on the brink of suicide. Herzog spends much of his time writing letters he never sends. These letters are aimed at friends, family members, and famous figures. The one common thread is that Herzog is always expressing disappointment. When Ramona comes up to join him, he begins making plans to fix up the house. Herzog is introspective and troubled, but he finally also finds that he has much reason to be content with his life. After pouring all Herzog's thoughts into letters Bellow notes in the last words of the book: "At this time he had no messages for anyone. Nothing. Not a single word."
CHARACTERISATION:

Bellow’s art of characterization is superb. Among his most famous characters are Augie March, Arthur Sammler, and Charlie Citrine. They are funny, charming, disillusioned, neurotic, and intelligent. They are subtle observers of the modern American way of life. Herzog is one of them. Bellow has presented a variety of women having contradictory traits in Herzog. In developing his characters Bellow emphasizes dialogue and interior monologue. Herzog received praise for its colorful minor characters. Its protagonist is a brilliant but pathetic character.The beauty of this novel lies in the dissection of his mind.
STYLE:



Bellow is the innovator of unique style. He is recognized as a highly original contemporary stylist. He is praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor and the masterful artistry of his prose. His prose style features sudden flashes of wit and philosophical epigrams. His words are colloquial and mandarin, streetwise and intimate. For him fiction was a higher form of autobiography. In Herzog the descriptions of characters' emotions and physical features are rich in wit and energy. At the level of content, the psychological clarification is reflected stylistically. The water and fish symbols are very significant in Herzog.
CONCLUSION:

 Thus Saul Bellow is one of the greatest novelists of modern period. His contribution to the development of novel is significant. His novels are the outcome of his strong vision and unique style. Herzog is the best example of it. The British writer Ian considers Herzog the most important post-war American novel.



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