Fun with Numbered Lists: Saul Bellow

January 14, 2007

Having just finished The Victim, I’ve now read 11 of Saul Bellow’s 15 works of fiction. I read my first, Herzog, in the summer of 2004, so I’m been going at a pretty good clip. Here’s the list:

  1. Dangling Man (1944)
  2. The Victim (1947)
  3. The Adventures of Augie March (1953)
  4. Seize the Day (1956)
  5. Henderson the Rain King (1959)
  6. Herzog(1964)
  7. Mosby’s Memoirs (1968)
  8. Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1970)
  9. Humboldt’s Gift (1975)
  10. The Dean’s December (1982)
  11. Him with His Foot in His Mouth (1984)
  12. More Die of Heartbreak (1987)
  13. Something to Remember Me By: Three Tales (1991)
  14. The Actual (1997)
  15. Ravelstein (2000)

As you can see, the remaining four were written during the later period of Bellow’s career, after he won the Nobel Prize. I don’t expect the later novels to be as good as the earlier, both because that’s the way it usually goes with writers, and because the later shorter works of fiction I have read were disappointing.

Here’s how I rank them in order of preference:

  1. Herzog
  2. The Adventures of Augie March
  3. Henderson the Rain King
  4. Seize the Day
  5. Mr. Sammler’s Planet
  6. The Victim
  7. Dangling Man
  8. The Actual
  9. Humboldt’s Gift
  10. Something to Remember Me By
  11. Mosby’s Memoirs

The plan is to read More Die of Heartbreak next, although I’m not in a terrible rush, and to finish with Ravelstein. Hopefully the elderly Bellow won’t let me down.


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