Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 283
Clayton, John Jacob. Saul Bellow: In Defense of Man. 2d ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968. An early book-length study of Bellow. Says the novel is about reaching after personal uniqueness and the way each person tries to convince others that he has “captured reality.”
Cohen, Sarah Blacher. Saul Bellow’s Enigmatic Laughter. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1974. Argues that in this “comedy of character,” Augie is a kind of Columbus exploring America and Americans. He is “the picaresque apostle” who hears all confessions and forgives all sins.
Dutton, Robert R. Saul Bellow. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1982. Treats the novel on three levels: as a picaresque, as a “fictional history of American literature,” and as a comment on the “contemporary human condition.” Augie turns out to be a “fallen angel” and “artist of alienation.”
Gerson, Steven M. “The New American Adam in The Adventures of Augie March.” Modern Fiction Studies 25 (Spring, 1979): 117-128.
Harper, George Lloyd. “Saul Bellow.” In Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, edited by George Plimpton. New York: Penguin, 1977.
Kiernan, Robert F. Saul Bellow. New York: Continuum, 1989.
Pifer, Ellen. Saul Bellow Against the Grain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990. Describes how Augie travels through “a New World Babylon” on a pilgrimage to discover what is “uniquely meaningful” in his life. He refuses to yield to the authority of people who claim to be authorities but instead seeks his own truth.
Wilson, Jonathan. On Bellow’s Planet: Readings from the Dark Side. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985. Augie’s main conflict is internal. For him, growing up does not bring with it control over the self. Instead, he struggles between the will to freedom and the need to be controlled.
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