The quotidian, childhood memory and the changing tone of comedy as the elements of Saul Bellow's humanistic vision in "Herzog".
AuthorWoroniecka, Urszula Joanna
In the 1964 novel "Herzog" by Saul Bellow, protagonist Moses Herzog's obsession with academic issues proves impractical and does not help him solve his mental and emotional crises. Instead, his absurd ambition to reach a synthesis of all theories leads him to withdraw from everyday life. Only by discarding intellectualism and embracing simple values is Herzog finally able to regain peace. This thesis analyses three elements vital to Herzog's journey. Chapter 1 demonstrates that although the protagonist frequently criticises Heidegger's "fall into quotidian," he himself has become unable to participate in quotidian matters. Chapter 2 details how Herzog's memories of childhood are revealed to be the source of his implicit understanding of the truth about people and life. Chapter 3 considers how Bellow employs humour to relieve the tension inherent to Herzog's struggles; further, it observes how the novel's ironic tone fades once the protagonist begins to discard his burdensome egotism and recognise the worth of the real world and other individuals.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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