Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Saul Bellow  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: June 10, 1915 in Lachine, Quebec, Canada

Died: April 5, 2005 in Brookline, Massachusetts (age 89)

-- Website -- Bellow
-- Website -- Prize
-- Saul Bellow on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Saul Bellow was 9 years old when his family moved from Canada to Chicago. He continued to live in Chicago until his death. He was a long-time faculty member at the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Saul Bellow is the dean of contemporary Illinois writers and one of the major 20th century American writers. He was the first novelist to win three National Book Awards. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975 for ''Humboldt's Gift'', and the Nobel Prize for literature in 1976. Bellow was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, dramatist, editor and translator. A long-time faculty member at the University of Chicago, his novels combine a serious concern for ideas with a keen, often comic, mastery of the details of contemporary American life, including street life. Among his novels set either wholly or partially in Chicago are: ''Dangling Man'' (1944), ''The Adventure of Augie March'' (1953), ''Herzog'' (1964), ''Humboldt's Gift'' (1975), ''The Dean's December'' (1982), and ''The Actual'' (1997).

Published Works

  • Dangling Man, Vanguard, 1944
  • The Victim, Vanguard, 1947
  • The Adventures of Augie March, Viking, 1953
  • Seize the Day, Viking, 1956
  • Henderson the Rain King, Viking, 1959
  • Herzog, Viking, 1964
  • Mosby's Memoirs, and Other Stories, Fawcett, 1968
  • Mr. Sammler`s Planet, Viking, 1970
  • Humboldt`s Gift, Viking, 1975
  • The Dean`s December, Harper, 1982
  • Him With His Foot In His Mouth, and Other Stories, Harper & Row, 1984
  • More Die of Heartbreak, Morrow, 1987
  • A Theft, Penguin, 1989
  • The Bellarosa Connection, Penguin, 1989
  • Something To Remember Me By: Three Tales, Signet, 1991
  • The Actual, Viking, 1997
  • Ravelstein, High Bridge Company, 2000
  • Collected Stories, Viking, 2001

Selected Titles At Your Library

Dangling man /
ISBN: 0143039873. OCLC Number:

Penguin Books,. New York :. 2006.

A would-be intellectual, drafted by the Army in World War II, isolates himself while awaiting the call to report for induction.

The victim :
ISBN: 0141188839. OCLC Number:

Penguin,. London :. 2008.

The adventures of Augie March /
ISBN: 0786186593. OCLC Number:

Blackstone Audio Books,. Ashland, OR :. ℗1992.

Augie March is a Jewish-American boy growing up fatherless and poor in Depression-era Chicago. He seeks a "special destiny", although his circumstances seem to position him for a uniquely disappointing life: his family consists of a simple-minded mother, a brother and "grandmother" who prove to be Machiavellian in their intentions, and an "idiot" youngest brother, Georgie.

Seize the day /
ISBN: 014118485X. OCLC Number:

Penguin,. London :. 1996

Henderson the rain king /
ISBN: 0141188804. OCLC Number:

Penguin,. London :. 2007.

An eccentric American millionaire, age 55, sets out to prove that there is more to life than waiting for death.

Herzog /
ISBN: 0786162902. OCLC Number:

Blackstone Audio Books,. Ashland, OR :. 1994.

Herzog is the story of Moses Herzog, great sufferer, joker and moaner, cuckold, charmer, and man of our times. Seeing himself as a survivor, of his private disasters but also those of the age, Herzog cannot keep from asking what he calls the "piercing" questions.

Mosby's memoirs and other stories /
ISBN: 0140189459. OCLC Number:

Penguin Books,. New York :. 1996.

In six dark tales Saul Bellow presents the human experience in all its presposterousness, poignancy and pathos. It includes "Leaving the Yellow House", "The Old System", "Looking for Mr Green", "The Gonzaga Manuscripts", "A Father-To-Be" and "Mosby's Memoirs."

Novels, 1956-1964 /
ISBN: 159853002X. OCLC Number:

Library of America :. New York :. ©2007.

"Passionate, insightful, often funny, and exhibiting a linguistic richness few writers have equaled, the novels of Saul Bellow are among the defining achievements of postwar American literature. Novels 1956 1964 opens with Seize the Day, a tightly wrought novella that, unfolding over the course of a single devastating day, explores the desperate predicament of the failed actor and salesman Tommy Wilhelm. The austere psychological portraiture of Seize the Day is followed by an altogether different book, Henderson the Rain King, the ebullient tale of the irresistible eccentric Eugene Henderson, best characterized by his primal mantra "I want! I want!" Beneath the novel's comic surface lies an affecting parable of one man's quest to know himself and come to terms with morality; like Don Quixote, Henderson is, as Bellow later described him, "an absurd seeker of high qualities."" "Henderson's irrepressible vitality is matched by that of Moses Herzog, the eponymous hero of Bellow's best-selling 1964 novel. His wife having abandoned him for his best friend, Herzog is on the verge of mental collapse and has embarked on a furious letter-writing campaign as an outlet for his all-consuming rage. Bellow's bravura performance in Herzog launched a new phase of his career, as literary acclaim was now joined by a receptive mass audience in America."--Jacket.

Mr. Sammler's planet /
ISBN: 0786162589. OCLC Number:

Blackstone Audio,. Ashland, Or. :. 2008.

Observing different aspects of life from the relative serenity of England in the 1920's and 30's through World War II and the death camps in Poland to the chaotic and perilous streets of New York's upper West Side, Mr. Artur Sammler speculates on the future of life on earth and beyond.

Humboldt's gift /
ISBN: 0786162554. OCLC Number:

Blackstone Audio,. [Ashland, OR] :. [2007], ℗1992.

Charlie Citrine, suffering from steadily worsening troubles with women, career, and life in general, receives unexpected aid and comfort in the form of a belated bequest from his onetime friend and mentor, the poet Von Humboldt Fleisher.

The dean's December /
ISBN: 0141188863. OCLC Number:

Penguin,. London :. 2008.

Him with his foot in his mouth and other stories/ Saul Bellow.
ISBN: 0141180234. OCLC Number:

Penguin Books,. New York :. 1998.

More die of heartbreak /
ISBN: 0142437743. OCLC Number:

. .

Kenneth Trachtenberg, the witty and eccentric narrator, has left his native Paris for the Midwest. He has come to be near his beloved uncle, the world-renowned botanist Benn Crader, self-described "plant visionary." While his studies take him around the world, Benn, a restless spirit, has not been able to satisfy his longings after his first marriage and lives from affair to affair and from "bliss to breakdown." Imagining that a settled existence will end his anguish, Benn ties the knot again, opening the door to a flood of new torments. As Kenneth grapples with his own problems involving his unusual lady-friend Treckie, the two men try to figure out why gifted and intelligent people invariably find themselves "knee-deep in the garbage of a personal life."

A theft /
ISBN: 043603963X. OCLC Number:

Alison Press,. London :. 1989.

The Bellarosa connection.
ISBN: 0436199882. OCLC Number:

Secker & Warburg,. . 1990.

The book is an exploration of the meaning of memory and the central character is an immigrant, rescued from Nazi-occupied Europe by an American Broadway producer.

Something to remember me by :
ISBN: 0436201178. OCLC Number:

Secker & Warburg,. London :. 1992.

The actual /
ISBN: 0141188847. OCLC Number:

Penguin,. London :. 2008.

Ravelstein /
ISBN: 0141001763. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2000.

"Abe Ravelstein is a brilliant professor at a prominent midwestern university and a man who glories in training the movers and shakers of the political world. He has lived grandly and ferociously - and much beyond his means. His close friend Chick has suggested that he put forth a book of his convictions about the ideas which sustain humankind, or kill it, and much to Ravelstein's surprise he does and becomes a millionaire. Ravelstein suggests in turn that Chick write a memoir or life of him, and during the course of a celebratory trip to Paris the two share thoughts on mortality, philosophy and history, loves and friends, old and new, and vaudeville routines from the remote past. The mood turns more somber once they have returned to the Midwest and Ravelstein succumbs to AIDS, and as Chick himself nearly dies."--Jacket.

Collected stories /
ISBN: 0142001643. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York :. 2001.

Collects stories featuring such characters as art critic Victor Wulpy, cheeerful and tragic Hattie Waggoner, and death-bed witness Dr. Braun.


Body of Work

  • Nobel Prize for Literature, 1976
  • Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by Republic of France (the highest literary distinction awarded by that nation to non-citizens)

    , 1968

  • B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "Excellence in Jewish Literature", 1968
  • America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League by B'nai B'rith, 1976 (the first time this award has been made to a literary personage)

  • Name engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990
  • Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2010
  • The Adventures of Augie March

  • National Book Award Winner in Fiction, 1954
  • Herzog

  • National Book Award in Fiction, 1965
  • International Literary Prize, 1965 - Bellow was the first American to receive the prize.
  • Mr. Sammler's Planet

  • National Book Award Winner in Fiction, 1971