Saul Bellow: The Actual

(298 words)

The Actual (1997) is a novella which tells the familiar Bellow story of an old adolescent love resumed. The worldly and clever Harry Trellman, a grand noticer of things and an ambassador of the arts, is invited to “notice” on behalf of another grand old noticer, Sigmund Adletsky. Adeltsky welcomes Harry’s intellectual gossip because, though he is rich beyond imagining, Adletsky is now, like Napoleon on St Helena, socially exiled and bored. Harry will be his intellectual informer, while Adletsky for his part will discern the nature of Harry’s great unrequited adolescent love, Amy Wustrin, and finally bring the two together. Here is one of the most familiar of Bellow’s themes, the true human failure to r…

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Cronin, Gloria. "The Actual". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2003
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]

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