October 5, 2007


Bellow's remarks on race haunt legacy in Hyde Park (Azam Ahmed and Ron Grossman, October 5, 2007, Chicago Tribune)

In a city whose streets commemorate fascist pilots and other controversial figures, it should have been a rubber-stamped request: a street, a statue, maybe a school named in honor of Saul Bellow, one of America's greatest writers and a Chicago literary icon.

The request, made several months ago to Mayor Richard Daley's office by Bellow's longtime friend and University of Chicago colleague Richard Stern, was sent along to Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th.)

The request was promptly denied, Stern said. [...]

It isn't the first time that Bellow's thoughts on race got him into trouble.

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine in 1988, Bellow was quoted as having said: "Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans? I'd be glad to read them," a remark that earned him accusations of insensitivity, elitism and racism.

It's revealing that no one ever answers the question, they just attack him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2007 1:55 PM
Comments for this post are closed.