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 …

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Cronin, Gloria. "Henderson the Rain King". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2003
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]

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