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Dangling Man (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Top Customer Reviews
For someone of my age (71) it's especially nostalgic to read the contemporary references to the World War II era: "both doors of the phonograph were open;" the songs "Mr. Five-by-five" and "Chattanooga Choo-Choo;" rationing of leather goods, sugar, coffee, gasoline, and butter; hoarding; the conga; baking days and washing days; the navy transport plane called the Catalina; a blacked out street lamp bent over a curb on a rainy night; war mothers knitting mufflers; "Your Hit Parade;" doors shut with pneumatic arms; pants in the new style saving cloth, without cuffs; Bataan.
Bellow cites other telling details that resonated with me personally: "I was forever buying books...As long as they surrounded me they stood as guarantors of an extended life..." "I fell back into bed and spent an hour or so...watching the dark beams from the slats of the blind wheeling on the upper wall."
Bellow's protagonist is a "reflective man" who suffers from a feeling of strangeness, who seeks to know who he is. Like his literary successor, Augie March, he is fenced around, less than a whole man.Read more ›
Because of this violation of expectations, I was initially put off by the book. This was ultimately extremely wrong- headed. The genius of this work lies in how it uses the vast historical background of the war and unemployment to show Joseph, the fictional journal keeper, descend further and further into his own personal short-comings, narcissism, and irascibility. A mixture of pessimism and comical farce, the reader of the work is privy to the inner workings of a personality that is watching its degradation.
We find at the journal's opening that Joseph has been awaiting conscription for several months. Initially believing that he was to be mobilized within several weeks of his initial notice of mobilization, Joseph had left his regular work-a-day life behind him in order to concentrate on putting all his affairs in order. Government bureaucracy interceded to make this much more complicated than it otherwise should have been. Because of his Canadian nationality and because of certain completely reasonable regulations, Joseph found himself in a position that would have been familiar to many of his generation only a few years before during the Depression; out of work and with a lot of time on his hands.Read more ›
"Dangling Man", Bellow's first novel, is an excellent example of an English speaking writer incorporating the influence of European existentialism into his writing. While later Bellow novels would find the author doing so in less direct ways, this debut work nonetheless establishes the author as a voice with which to be reckoned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Saul Bellow has engaged me with his genius for many months now. I am hungry to read all his works. Thank you SaulPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am reading Saul Bellow in order. Dangling Man was his first novel. I enjoyed it and found it interesting in a few ways. It reminds me of the so called epistolary novel. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Francis C. Donnelly
I've always thought this was an extraordinary first novel. The unusual format, written in daily journal or diary entries, works well to engage the reader and draw him in to the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mike Kimmel Scenes for Teens
It's about a man who lives for a good year in weightlessness , between the worlds, in a vacuum , so to speak, in Nirvana . Read morePublished on October 11, 2013 by Dr. Volker Hoeper
You put in ebay his look was good. It's not true. Totally destroyed. Many sheets in the book.
Saul Bellow was born in Quebec and was a Canadian citizen for quite some time. He was 4th child to a poor immigrant family of Russian Jews, previously called Belo. Read morePublished on January 7, 2011 by H. Schneider
Not much action; this is a character study looking at a man (Joseph) who finds himself out of work, and in a state of administrative "limbo" for several months after the Army loses... Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Brian
Saul Bellow published his first novel, Dangling Man, in 1944. The protagonist is a young draftee, Joseph, who is waiting to be inducted into the army during World War II. Read morePublished on January 5, 2010 by -_Tim_-
Saul Bellow's short and first published novel "Dangling Man" (1944) explores broad themes of community and alienation in the words of a self-centered young man awaiting induction... Read morePublished on May 17, 2009 by Robin Friedman