Saul Bellow: The Dean's December

(816 words)

The Dean's December (1982) is a somewhat wintry piece which lacks the balancing comedy of Humboldt's Gift. Dean Albert Corde, a resident of Chicago, travels with his Romanian wife, Minna, back to her home country where the couple attend the dying process of her famous mother, Valeria Raresh. From the vantage point of Romania, Corde is afforded a comparison of Bucharest and Chicago as he develops his tale of two cities. The moral, economic, and physical decay of both the communist regime in Bucharest, and the capitalist democracy in Chicago are counterpointed. He watches the diminishing of the human factor in both cities and enters a great nightmare in which he observes that “although people talked to themselves all t…

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Cronin, Gloria. "The Dean's December". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2003
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]