What Do I Read Next?
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, published in 1938, is Delmore Schwartz’s seminal book of short stories and poetry.
The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is Saul Bellow’s most famous work. It is a bildungsroman (a novel about growing up) about a young man in Chicago during the Great Depression.
William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom! was published in 1936. It follows the life of a poor man who becomes rich with a huge plantation but loses his sons and fails to establish his dynasty in the fashion he envisioned.
American Pastoral (1997) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Philip Roth, one of Bellow’s protégés. This book is about a man trying to live the American dream and how that dream is shattered and then re-envisioned.
The Sun Also Rises (1926), by Ernest Hemingway, is a roman à clef, like Humboldt’s Gift. It follows the exploits of a group of American expatriates in Europe during the 1920s, mirroring Hemingway’s own life and friends at that time.
Best American Essays of the Century (2001), edited by Robert Atwan and Joyce Carol Oates, is a collection of important essays from North America’s twentieth century by such authors as Mark Twain, Stephen Jay Gould, and Maya Angelou.
Moby-Dick (1851), by Herman Melville, is a famous novel about a ship captain who is obsessed with hunting down an elusive white whale. Bellow is often considered the Melville of the twentieth century.
The Closing of the American Mind (1987), by Allan Bloom, is a critique of the American university educational system by an accomplished philosopher and close friend of Bellow.
Gimpel, the Fool (1957), by Isaac Bashevis Singer, is a collection of short stories about an individual’s search for guidance in life. It is Singer’s first book to be translated into English. The title story was translated by Bellow.