Dangling Man (1944), Bellow's first novel, is striking in its exclusion of the female voice, its enactment of a homosocial male world, and the overt narcissism and misogyny of its protagonist. Joseph is a would-be writer and intellectual caught waiting for the Draft, who romantically believes that intellectual and spiritual enlightenment is to be attained by isolating himself within the confines of a room in a cheap Chicago boarding house while he studies the great writers of the Enlightenment. It also reflects the 1940s preoccupation of American intellectuals with French existentialism and themes of individual freedom, the meaning of moral responsibility, death, and social contract. While Modern writers such as Flaubert, …
Cronin, Gloria. "Dangling Man". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 November 2003; last revised 30 November -1.
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