Herzog by Saul Bellow

Moses E. Herzog, the protagonist of Saul Bellow’s Herzog, finds himself in a pickle. He may be handsome, witty and wise, but his wife has just taken off with his best friend, and he is without resources to face his troubles. What is an academic to do when his personal life turns to chaos? Well this one writes letters—to enemies and friends, the living and the dead, politicians and philosophers—and even to God, though this last, along with the others, remains undelivered. An eccentric and vivid crowd of family and friends, keen to intervene as “reality instructors”, make things a lot worse for Herzog. And there’s no help in the books he has spent a lifetime studying. As Herzog’s comic predicament unfolds, we enter a mind as dazzling and brilliant as it is turbulent and confused, and we come away from the encounter surprisingly moved and satisfied.

“A masterpiece...”

New York Times Book Review

Herzog has the range, depth, intensity, verbal brilliance, and imaginative fullness, the mind and heart, which we may expect only of a novel that is unmistakably destined to last...”


Winner of the National Book Award, 1965