Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Friday, August 27, 2004
Since finishing the Shakespeare, I've been reading Saul Bellow's novel from the 1970s, Humboldt's Gift. I've read only one Bellow novel before, Henderson the Rain King, which I enjoyed. I have equivocal feelings about Humboldt, though. The language is gorgeous and lush, but I keep feeling like it's teetering on the edge of self-parody. And it is hard for me to get into the head of these sensual/intellectual Jews that the book is all about. The writers I know are nothing like this, even those with messy lives. It is very hard for me to internalize an era when sex had emerged from the realm of the forbidden and become part of the quest for more - more life, more experience, more everything. It's not that they are sensualists, nor that they are intellectuals, nor that they are both at once. I have an easier time relating to a sensualist/intellectual like Leopold Bloom - so internal and yet so perceptive - or one like a Singer protagonist - so equivocal and yet so yearning - than to the bald questing agon of the characters in Bellow's novel. They seem so determined to push themselves upon the world, I almost want to laugh at them. But I'm pushing on. I'm very curious to discover if Bellow has a sense of humor about the ridiculous way they make their hunger into a matter of principle. I'll probably report back when I'm finished with the book.