Saul Bellow: Henderson the Rain King (539 words)


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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 …

Citation: Cronin, Gloria. "Henderson the Rain King". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2003 [, accessed 02 December 2021.]

4800 Henderson the Rain King 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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