Simply Too Much To Think About



One of the supreme fiction writers of the twentieth century, Nobel laureate Saul Bellow was also deeply insightful as an essayist, critic, and lecturer. Gathered together in this stunning compilation, Bellow’s vast range of nonfiction reveals the same wit, daring, and wisdom that distinguish The Adventures of Augie MarchHenderson the Rain KingHerzogHumboldt’s Gift, and other masterly novels.Benjamin Taylor, editor of the acclaimed Saul Bellow:Letters, joins Bellow’s better-known essays to previously uncollected works selected from his criticism, interviews, speeches, and other reflections. Featuring Bellow’s commentary on such fellow writers as Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth, and J. D. Salinger, a remembrance of Franklin D. Roosevelt, dispatches from Paris, Spain, and Israel, and indelible portraits of his hometown, Chicago, this collection brings together writing from every phase of his career. There Is Simply Too Much to Think About is a guided tour of the twentieth century—what we did, suffered, survived—conducted by one of modern life’s most inspiring minds.


“Rare are the novelists who write nonfiction comparable in strength to their fiction. Now that the bulk of his nonfiction has been drawn together from where the pieces first appeared separately, one sees that, like Henry James and John Updike, the great Saul Bellow was no less the master of the one genre than the other. This book overwhelms one like any artistic treasure newly discovered. When it came to wondrous lucidity in the service of an uncanny literary empathy–to a steady downpour of intelligence–to a direct contact with reality–to a sensibility attuned to the contradictions and the incongruities–he was unrivaled. Like the book of Bellow’s correspondence collected several years back by Benjamin Taylor–the same intrepid editor who is the harvester here–There Is Simply Too Much to Think About further extends our sense of Bellow’s extremely humane way of experiencing books, people, events, and places. One witnesses his excited mind, in a molten state, running over.”
—Philip Roth

“A milestone of twentieth-century criticism.”
—Nathaniel Rich, The New York Review of Books

“Bellow’s nonfiction has the same strengths as his stories and novels: a dynamic responsiveness to character, place, and time (or era)…And you wonder—what other highbrow writer, or indeed lowbrow writer, has such a reflexive grasp of the street, the machine, the law courts, the rackets?”
—Martin Amis, The New York Times Book Review

“A necessary book for anyone who cares about Bellow.”
– The Nation