Saul Bellow: Henderson the Rain King

(539 words)

Henderson the Rain King (1959), undoubtedly Bellow’s most loved book, offers his most trenchant and comic analysis of literary modernism. Unfortunately it also enacts all of the racial ideologies of the colonial archive. Through its parody and satire, Bellow renders laughable many of Modernism’s philosophical banalities. Eugene Henderson, one of his few WASP protagonists, is a burlesque of the absurd, violent, artist-hero of the Stephan Daedalus variety. Violinist and pig farmer, he is a menopausal social outcast. A direct parody of the Hemingway stoic or narcissist, he is metaphysically earnest, introspective, solipsistic, bumbling, and egocentric. He believes, along with his Eliotic fisher king forbears, that there is …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Cronin, Gloria. "Henderson the Rain King". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2003
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Jewish American Writing