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Dangling Man (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) by Salman Rushdie,Saul Bellow

Dangling Man (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Dangling Man (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Salman Rushdie,Saul Bellow
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Penguin Classics (October 1, 1996)
192 pages
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1988 kb
FB2 size:
1204 kb
EPUB size:
1900 kb
Take a man waiting - waiting between the two worlds of civilian life and the army, suspended between two identities - and you have a man who, perhaps for the first time in his life, is really free. However, freedom can be a noose around a man's neck.

  • Sharpbringer
"There was a time when people were in the habit of addressing themselves frequently and felt no shame at making a record of their inward transactions." So begins Bellow's first novel and one of the most consistently excellent oeuvres in American fiction. It's Chicago, 1942, and in preparation for his imminent draft into the army, Joseph has given up his job and moved himself and his wife into one-room lodgings in a boarding house. That was nine months ago and the draft letter hasn't come. Joseph is dangling - alienated, without real purpose, but no longer distracted by the banal minutiae of everyday working life. He begins to see the absurdity of social roles, the hypocrisy of long-held ideologies, and the horror of life without routine. Breaking from friends and family, Joseph observes the slow disintegration of his social self. Significantly, while unthinking discipline is offered as one way out of such a nightmare, we're not encouraged to see this as the only or best solution. Bellow never comes down on one side or the other. This announces one of the central themes of Bellow's work generally: that there is a big difference between thinking and having an idea. Thinking involves a free opposition of ideas, and it raises the work from the level of a tract to the level of art. The opposites are free to range themselves against each other, and they are passionately expressed on both sides. At its best, it is energetic, passionate, and open. An idea, in contrast, is a state of closure which kills truth because it denies the multivalence of experience. According to Bellow, thinking is vital to a novel. The continuing dilemma which concludes most of his narratives may well be aimed at this effect. Thinking is still in progress - hopefully in your head. "Dangling Man" achieves this: Bellow doesn't tell us what to think, he invites us to think for ourselves. This novel is also notable for its bold project of bringing a European form - the sophisticated, introverted, philosophical diary novel - into the American mainstream as a deliberate antidote to hardboiled-dom, both in fiction and in life. Bellow adheres closely to its formal requirements: like his European forbears, Joseph is an alienated, bookish, unemployed part-time flaneur, part-time room hermit, whose impotence and hermetic isolation are underscored. Yet he has an unmistakable touch of America about him, which makes him all the more accessible for readers in the English-American tradition. Bellow puts American life under a European microscope, and finds the central issue much the same: the problem of being human.
  • Raniconne
You put in ebay his look was good. It's not true. Totally destroyed. Many sheets in the book.

Best regards

  • Llbery
I am reading Saul Bellow in order. Dangling Man was his first novel. I enjoyed it and found it interesting in a few ways. It reminds me of the so called epistolary novel. The only such novel I recall reading is Lady Susan by Jane Austen. I think it is not popular at this time. It is also another example of the semi autobiographical novels written by young men after World War Two. Saul Bellow did live in Chicago and the setting is Chicago. It describes his life in Chicago prior to going into the service while World War Two is in progress. In that context, civilian life during World War Two, it reminds me of "The Street" by Ann Petry a semi autobiographical novel set in New York during World War Two from the perspective of an African American woman. I find these novels important and valuable additions to the semi autobiographical war novels such as Battle Cry, The Naked and The Dead, The Young Lions, etc...
  • Virtual
Joseph is the title character of Saul Bellow's "Dangling Man", a late twenties married man who puts his life on hold as he waits to get drafted to serve in the army during WWII. Nothing actually happens during the book- Joseph does not get drafted until the last pages, and the raging war is only referenced in terms of its effect on those back home- but the existential somersaults Joseph executes to battle his ennui and sense of purposelessness drive the novel forward. Without a job or any real responsibilities other than those suggested by his wife, Joseph manages to find fault with nearly everyone and everything he encounters, his lack of purpose eventually leading him to feel isolated and alone. This affects both his marriage and his friendships and it is only in the philosophers Joseph is reading does he find any solace.
"Dangling Man", Bellow's first novel, is an excellent example of an English speaking writer incorporating the influence of European existentialism into his writing. While later Bellow novels would find the author doing so in less direct ways, this debut work nonetheless establishes the author as a voice with which to be reckoned.
  • Zadora
I've always thought this was an extraordinary first novel. The unusual format, written in daily journal or diary entries, works well to engage the reader and draw him in to the hero's angst-ridden world. I'm a longtime fan of Saul Bellow's work, and think this first novel is a fine indicator of the major works to follow - and even ranks capably beside them. Over the years, I've heard many readers criticize the journal format, but I've always seen it as a brilliant and very creative way of structuring this story. In fact, I'm surprised more writers (and aspiring writers) don't follow Mr. Bellow's example and adopt this same format themselves. The structure of writing in a diary style could help many first time authors complete novels that might otherwise go unfinished. Kudos to the author for his innovative style and technique.