Thank you for your comment. I tried to read that Wolfe doorstop ‘A Man in Full’ which a friend gave to me, she hadn’t sent in her Book-of-the-Month Club notice in time: how long ago was that? Its style, such as it was, reminiscent of Cosmo Magazine under the able editorship of Helen Gurley Brown.
On Bellow: I read ‘Herzog’, in a paperback, I bought at the corner liquor store along with Mailer’s ‘An American Dream’ in 1965 or ’66. ‘Herzog’ was written partly in French, a nod to the literary cognoscenti , as indicative of ‘American sophistication’?, which is how he communicated with his girlfriend Ramona, and his compulsively tedious letter writing to persons historical and contemporary.
I found at that time the fiction of J.D. Salinger and John Knowles less concerned with the plight of a grumpy old man, surveying his losses, allied to his general dull-witted relations with his fellow humans, that failed to strike a cord ! Even entering my 75th year I don’t feel anything like the remembered bitching of Herzog. Kant’s imperative of ‘self-emancipation from tutelage’ is the very engine of hope!
Bellow wrote an even more boring and pretentious novel, his last, ‘Ravelstein’, an homage to the hysterical self-appointed Platonist and Straussian Allen Bloom. ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ for which Bellow wrote an enthusiastic introduction, as I mentioned in my post – its titled purloined/ adapted by two of the current crop of Anti-Student hysterics, New Democrat propagandist, Professor of Ethical Leadership specializing in ‘the psychology of morality’ Jonathan Haidt and CEO Greg Lukianoff. The toxic alliance between the Neo-Liberals and the Neo-Conservatives is a threat to the future of human life and the planet Earth.
While I might have read Wolfe, I was busy reading Children of the Arbat, Fear and Dust and Ashes by Anatoly Rybakov. And ‘Life and Fate’ by Vasily Grossman or Balzac and Victor Hugo etc., etc.