The Dean's December Paperback – 26 May 1983
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From the Back Cover
THE DEAN'S DECEMBER
by Saul Bellow, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1976
The Vesuvian eloquence of Saul Bellow is one of the glories of modern literature.
-Jonathan Raban Sunday Times
A novel that will raise its readers to fever pitch of the kind of passionate excitement and involvement that only real art can inspire.
-Salman Rushdie New Statesman
A wittily meditative book, an intensely serious enterprise from a writer we can see we are right to acknowledge as of world class.
-Malcolm Bradbury Books and Bookmen
A brilliant piece of work...different in many ways from much of his earlier work, it is one of his best.
-David Holloway Sunday Telegraph
There is in The Dean's December enough thought and matter for ten other contemporary novels.
-Melvyn Bragg Punch
A serious, sane, thought-provoking novel of a kind rare these days, a worthy addition to the canon of a writer of genius.
-Paul Bailey Standard
In Saul Bellow the American novelist has come of age.
-Geoffrey Moore Financial Times
An overall mastery of form...and at times a sublime intensity.
-Lewis Jones Spectator
Bellow has at last created a plausible and likeable woman and has done so with wonderful economy.
-Gabriel Josipovici Times Literary Supplement
The shape of Saul Bellow's new novel is satisfyingly simple.
-Ian McEwan Observer
Near the end of Saul Bellow's admirable new novel, the dean is accused of "abyssifying and catastrophising".
-Thomas Hinde Sunday Telegraph
By any standards, a marvellous novel, rich, provocative, illuminating...buy it and read it: more than once.
-Alan Massie Scotsman
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Saul Bellow’s dazzling career has been marked with numerous literary prizes, including the 1976 Nobel Prize, and the Gold Medal for the Novel. His work includes Herzog, More Die of Heartbreak, Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories, Mr Sammler's Planet, Seize The Day and the essay To Jerusalem and Back. He died in 2005. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bellow is a master of style, whether it is evoking the bleak tenements and cast-iron bureaucracy or Bucharest or the rotting slums of Chicago. However, The Dean's December typifies many of the author's often-criticised characteristics. Albert Corde is less of a tangible human being than a manifestation of the author's philosophical preoccupations. A kind of giant question mark mired in extensive self-evaluation. Arguably this is Bellow's intention: a man capable of enormous philosophical objectivity but at the same time unable to control events happening around him. But Corde is a hard man to empathise with; coldly analytical, an unsympathetic portrayal. Because we are so closely bound to his perspective, it is hard to feel moved by the death of Valeria, his mother-in-law, in the principal story.Read more ›
The book is strong on the iniquities of Romania, experienced first hand by the Dean and his wife, and also gives large excepts from the Chicago experience of the Dean that has fuelled his articles and that form the background to the murder. Mankind does not come out well from these reflections.
I found the book held me throughout. The philosophical issues the book tackles about the meaning of life are addressed very directly - not, as in his previous novel Humbolt's Gift, at one remove through reflection on theosophy (or in the one before that, Mr Sammler's planet, through reflection on HG Wells and on Meister Eckhardt). And once you are hooked on Bellow's prose, it is hard ever to feel you have had enough of it.