Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Saul Bellow's Chicago!

Saul Bellow, the infamous Chicago writer (though he was born in Canada) loved Chicago and set his best-known novels in his beloved city.  Among those are The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog and Humboldt's Gift. There are several sites that you can visit if you want to walk in the steps of Bellow's fictional characters, among them are:  (These are taken from Let's Go Roadtripping USA)

1. In The Adventures of Augie March, Bellow's breakout novel of 1953, the title character steals books from Carson Pirie Scott, 1. S. State St.  Instead of fencing the books for profit, however, Augie ends up reading most of them and re-examining his priorities in life. 

2. Charlie Citrine of Humboldt's Gift pays off mobster Rinaldo Contabile at the tumbledown Russion Baths, 1916 W. Division St.  (See picture above)

3. The title character of Bellow's Herzog graduated from McKinley High School, 2040 W. Adams and pronounced to the Class of 1934 that "the main enterprise of the the upbuilding of a man."  Today the school has been razed to make room for a multiplex cinema.  

4. With grades dating back to the 1860's the Jewish Waldheim Cemetery, 1800 S. Harlem Ave. is the largest Jewish burial site in Chicago.  This made it an unlikely, but somehow perfect place for the marriage proposal at the very end of Bellow's 1997 novella The Actual

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