Freedom Cancelled

Just read Saul Bellow’s “Dangling Man” his first book, written in 1944 – he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. Picked-up on Bellow for the Chicago Uni connections, but otherwise no strong connection to my agenda in Dangling Man – references and allusions to Goethe and Dostoevsky abound.

Joeseph, is the man dangling in limbo after having signed-up for Army service, awaiting his call to duty, with freedom to think, write, do anything in fact limited by his domestic situation and resources, and the indeterminate window of time. After much reflection on life, freedom is cancelled by notice of his call-up.

This is my last civillian day. Iva has packed my things. It is plain that she would like me to show a little more giref at leaving. For her sake, I would like to. And I am sorry to leave her, but I am not at all sorry to part with the rest of it. I am no longer to be held accountable for myself; I am grateful for that. I am in other hands, relieved of self-determination, freedom cancelled.

Hurray for regular hours ! And for supervision of the spirit ! Long live regimentation !

Saul Bellow, “Dangling Man” (1944)

I also have Bellow’s 1982 “The Dean’s December” and I guess I should also read his 1964 “Herzog”.

Still need to finish Chris Wilson’s “Healing the Unhappy Caveman” – blogged my incomplete review earlier with a long comment thread with the author. A job for this weekend, but first I need to review another important read. Next post.

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