96 "Saul Bellow" Quotes And Sayings

Saul Bellow was born in Portland, Maine, and attended the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley before withdrawing and joining the army during World War I. After returning to Chicago, he became a lawyer and practiced for twenty years. He published his first short story in 1940 and began to write full-time in 1948. Bellow's twenty-seven novels, including Seize the Day (1956), Herzog (1964), Humboldt's Gift (1975), The Dean's December (1983), and Ravelstein (2000), have won him numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction three times; he has also won the National Book Award twice; and a Nobel Prize for Literature Read more

He was awarded a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. Bellow died on July 11, 2005.

It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most....
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It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most. They do what you deny yourself, and you love them for it. You give them your heart. Saul Bellow
A man is only as good as what he loves.
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A man is only as good as what he loves. Saul Bellow
Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.
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Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is. Saul Bellow
A man may say,
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A man may say, "From now on I'm going to speak the truth." But the truth hears him and runs away and hides before he's even done speaking. Saul Bellow
The old continued to have one resurgence of foolishness after...
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The old continued to have one resurgence of foolishness after another, until the organism gave out altogether. Saul Bellow
With one long breath, caught and held in his chest,...
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With one long breath, caught and held in his chest, he fought his sadness over his solitary life. Don't cry, you idiot! Live or die, but don't poison everything... Saul Bellow
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I see that I've become a really bad correspondent. It's not that I don't think of you. You come into my thoughts often. But when you do it appears to me that I owe you a particularly grand letter. And so you end in the "warehouse of good intentions": "Can't do it now." "Then put it on hold." This is one's strategy for coping with old age, and with death--because one can't die with so many obligations in storage. Our clever species, so fertile and resourceful in denying its weaknesses. Saul Bellow
8
He was looking for the Knight of Faith, the real prodigy. That real prodigy, having set its relations with the infinite, was entirely at home in the finite. Able to carry the jewel of faith, making the motions of the infinite, and as a result needing nothing but the finite and the usual. Whereas others sought the extraordinary in the world. Or wished to be what was gaped at. Saul Bellow
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You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write. Saul Bellow
There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested...
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There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested in ignorance when the need for illusion runs deep. Saul Bellow
11
Anything that just adds information you can't use is plain dangerous. Anyway, there's too much of everything of this kind, that's come home to me, too much history and culture to keep track of, too many details, too much news, too much example, too much influence, too many guys who tell you to be as they are, and all this hugeness, abundance, turbulence, Niagara Falls torrent. Which who is supposed to interpret? Me? I haven't got that much head to master it all. I get carried away. It doesn't give my feelings enough of a chance if I have to store up and become like an encyclopedia. Why, just as a question of time spent in getting prepared for life, look! a man could spent forty, fifty, sixty years like that inside the walls of his own being. And all high conversation would take place within those walls. And all achievement would stay within those walls. And all glamour too. And even hate, monstrousness, enviousness, murder, would be inside them. This would be only a terrible, hideous dream about existing. It's better to dig ditches and hit other guys with your shovel than die in the walls. Saul Bellow
12
If you could arrange to avoid that routine job-world, you were an intellectual or an artist. Too restless, tremorous, agitated, too mad to sit at a desk eight hours a day, you needed an institution - a higher institution. Saul Bellow
13
For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life for innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You–you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs. . Saul Bellow
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But then why shouldn't he write the dead? He lived with them as much as with the living - perhaps more; and besides, his letters to the living were increasingly mental, and anyway, to the Unconscious, what was death? Dreams did not recognize it. Saul Bellow
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The challenge of modern freedom, or the combination of isolation and freedom which confronts you, is to make yourself up. The danger is that you may emerge from the process as a not-entirely-human creature. Saul Bellow
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As the wicked flee when none pursueth, so does the middle-class wrestle when none contendeth. They cried out for freedom, it came down on them in a flood. Nothing remains but a few floating timbers of psychotherapy. Saul Bellow
If I'm out of my mind, it's all right with...
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If I'm out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses Herzog. Saul Bellow
.. . Nietzche himself had a Christian view of history,...
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.. . Nietzche himself had a Christian view of history, seeing the present moment always as some crisis, some fall from classical greatness, some corruption or evil to be saved from. Saul Bellow
He didn't ask
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He didn't ask "Where will you spend eternity?" as religious the-end-is-near picketers did but rather, "With what, in this modern democracy, will you meet the demands of your soul? Saul Bellow
Just because your soul is being torn to pieces doesn't...
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Just because your soul is being torn to pieces doesn't mean that you stop analyzing the phenomena. Saul Bellow