March 1, 2014

Saul Bellow, Canadian-born American author of fiction and essays, and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, who is widely regarded by many as one of the major representatives of the Jewish-American writers.
  • Full Name: Saul Bellow
    Saul Bellow Quick Facts
  • Birth Name: Solomon Bellows
  • Nick Name: Sollie
  • Birth: 10 June 1915
  • Place of Birth: Lachine, Quebec, Canada
  • Death: 5 April 2005
  • Place of Death: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Buried: Morningside Cemetery, Brattleboro, Windham County, Vermont, United States
  • Father: Abraham Bellows
  • Mother: Lescha (Liza) Bellow s (née Gordin)
  • Siblings: Jane Zelda Kauffman, Maurice Bellows, Samuel G. Bellows
  • Spouse: Anita Goshkin (1937–1956), Alexandra (Sondra) Tschacbasov (1956–1959), Susan Glassman (1961–1964), Alexandra Bagdasar Ionescu Tulcea (1974–1985), Janis Freedman (1989–2005)
  • Number of Children: 3 sons: Gregory Bellow (1944), Adam Abraham Bellow  (1957), Daniel Oscar Bellow (1964), and 1 daughter: Naomi Rose Bellow (1999)
  • Education: Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Known for: the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work
  • Criticised for: his conventional and old-fashioned works which resemble the 19th-century European novel
  • Influences: William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Anton Chekhov, Marcel Proust, Miguel de Cervantes
  • Influenced: Salman Rushdie, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Joseph Conrad, Philip Roth


“Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.”  Saul Bellow

Major Themes:

  • Jewish life and identity
  • Blemishes of Modern Civilization
  • Analysis of contemporary culture
  • Oedipal conflict
  • Gender
  • Race

Famous Characters:

  • Augie March
  • Moses E. Herzog
  • Arthur Sammler
  • Charlie Citrine

Notable Works:

  • Dangling Man (1944)
  • The Victim (1947)
  • Augie March (1953)
  • Seize the Day (1956)
  • Henderson and the Rain King (1959)
  • Herzog (1964)
  • Mosby's Memoirs (1968)
  • Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970)
  • Humboldt's Gift (1975)
  • To Jerusalem and Back (1976)
  • The Dean's December (1982)
  • Him with His Foot in His Mouth (short stories, also available in Collected Stories) (1984)
  • More Die of Heartbreak (1987)
  • A Theft (1989)
  • The Bellarosa Connection (1989)
  • Something To Remember Me By (1991)
  • It All Adds Up (1994)
  • The Actual (1997)
  • Ravelstein (2000)
  • Collected Stories (2001)
  • To Jerusalem and Back (1976)
  • It All Adds Up (1994)

Media Gallery:

Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow with his Wife Janis Freedman and Daughter Naomi Rose Bellow
Saul Bellow with His Third Son Daniel Bellow
Saul Bellow with his Wife Janis Freedman
Saul Bellow with Daughter Naomi Rose Bellow

Did you Know?

His original birth certificate was lost when Lachine's city hall burned down in the 1920s, but Bellow customarily celebrated his birth date on June 10, although he may have been born in July

Bellow's father was an onion importer who also worked in a bakery, as a coal delivery man, and as a bootlegger

His mother passed away when he was only 17 years old

Bellow was raised in an impoverished, polyglot section of Montreal, full of Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, Greeks, and Italians

He was very fluent in multiple languages, such as English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish at an early age

Bellow’s parents immigrated from Russia to Montreal, Canada in 1913

His family moved to Chicago in 1924 after his father was almost beaten to death because of his dealings with questionable people

Bellow’s mother was very pious so she wanted him to become a rabbi

After his mother’s demise Bellow moved away from religious study and began to read a wide variety of books

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bellow tried to enlist in the Army, but was rejected because he suffered from hernia

Bellow was married five times, but except for the last one all ended in divorce

During his life Bellow allegedly had a number of mistresses

During his fifth marriage in 1989, his bride Janis Freedman was 31 and Bellow was 74 years old

Bellow became the father of his last child, Naomi when he was 84 years old

He died in his residence in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States at the age of 89

He was an avid reader and his desire to read was further developed when he faced many different illnesses that kept him indoors

At first Bellow decided to study literature but when he was warned that many universities would not hire Jewish professors to teach the subject, he opted to graduate with an honours degree in anthropology instead

Bellow’s study of anthropology deeply influenced his literary style

Bellow attained first critical success in his career with the publication of The Adventures of Augie March (1953) for which he received the National Book Award

Bellow received Pulitzer Prize (1975), the Nobel Prize (1976), and the National Medal of Arts (1988) for his unequivocal contribution in literature

Bellow is the only writer to secure the National Book Award for Fiction three times

His Humboldt's Gift (1975) earned him the Pulitzer Prize as well as Noble Prize for literature

Although he was bookish by nature, he worked hard at his physical fitness and lived for optimum health

Bellow worked as an editor for the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1943 to 1944

Even though Bellow identified deeply with the city of Chicago, he often kept his distance from the city's conventional writers

In 1995 Bellow nearly died after eating poisonous fish in the Caribbean

In the year 2000 he was recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the New Yorker


“Biography of Saul Bellow.” GradeSaver. 2014. GradeSaver LLC. 24 February 2014

HoCoPoLitSo. "Nobel Prize Winner Saul Bellow Reads His Fiction." Online video clip.
YouTube. YouTube, 16 March 2012. Web. 24 February 2014.

 “Saul Bellow”. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
24 February 2014 <>.

“Saul Bellow.” Wikipedia. 2014. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 24 February 2014

“Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize in Literature 1976.” Geni. 2014. 24 February 2014
“Saul Bellow.” Evi. 2014. Evi Technologies Ltd. 24 February 2014

“Saul Bellow.” 2014. HighBeam™ Research, Inc. 24 February 2014

“Saul Bellow Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2014.
Advameg, Inc. 24 February 2014

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