Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Saul Bellow, 1915 -- 2005

Nobel Prize laureate Saul Bellow died yesterday at the age of 89.
In addition to reading appreciations of Saul Bellow (such as this and this), and short of picking up one of his novels, you may want to check out his lecture at the Nobel Prize ceremony; in addition, the NYT (from a supplement in 2000) has a collection of interviews with him going back as far as the early 1950s. An interview from December 1981 began with this anecdote from Bellow:
"I sometimes enjoy saying that anybody's life can be encompassed in about 10 wonderful jokes. One of my favorites is about an American singer who makes his
debut at La Scala. He sings his first aria to great applause. And the crowd calls 'Ancora, vita, vita.' He sings it a second time, and again they call for an encore. Then a third time and a fourth ... Finally, panting and exhausted, he asks, 'How many times must I sing this aria?' Then someone tells him, 'Until you get it right.' That's how it is with me - I always feel I haven't gotten it quite right, and so I go on singing.''
More here.

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