What are the characteristic features that make Saul Bellow distinguished among the American novelists?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Saul Bellow is most commonly distinguished in reference to his sentence style, which has been described as wild, full, pregnant and highly original.

The characteristic Saul Bellow sentence will be complex and extended, often making reference and allusion to history and/or art, with multiple subordinate clauses.

Outside of his vaunted sentence style, Saul Bellow presented some of the most intellectual and philosophically weighty narratives in American fiction with Herzog, The Adventures of Augies March, Humbolt’s Gift, Henderson the Rain King, and other works.

His protagonists are often intellectuals, a tendency that in itself separates Bellow from other American novelists of his era, and they experience life through a filter of erudition, learning, and culture.

The Bellovian hero is the intellectual schlemiel, aggrieved by the madness of contemporary life but unable to submit with Job-like serenity…

This marriage of culture to experience is highly unique and for his success in this avenue and for his interest in the spiritual anxiety of modern man, Bellow received the Nobel Prize for Literature and multiple Pulitzer Prizes.


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