Saul Bellow and the Antinomies of Democratic Experience

Simon During

in Against Democracy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242542
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242580 | DOI:
Saul Bellow and the Antinomies of Democratic Experience

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This chapter reads Saul Bellow as Tocqueville's heir, as offering descriptions of American life that attempt to combine an affirmation of “nobility” and heroism with an affirmation, even a love, of ordinariness and the mundane. It offers a synoptic account of Bellow's career and argues that as his career continues his complex, divided sense of democratic life becomes more and more delirious, and indeed more and more attuned to what lies outside the simply human. That is partly because he has such a strong understanding of how intellectual life in a democracy is not just driven towards incoherence but towards increasing the confusions and distortions under which we all live.

Keywords: Democracy; Saul Bellow; neoconservatism; mysticism

Chapter.  10586 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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