Bellow’s Strategy

This passage is from a 1953 letter written by Saul Bellow to Bernard Malamud after publication of “The Adventures of Augie March”:

“But I can’t allow myself to forget that I took a position in writing this book. I declared against what you call the constructivist approach. A novel, like a letter, should be loose, cover much ground, run swiftly, take risk of mortality and decay. I backed away from Flaubert, in the direction of Walter Scott, Balzac and Dickens. Having brought off my effort as well as I could, I must now pay the price. You let the errors come. Let them remain in the book like our sins remaining in our lives. I hope some of them may be remitted. I’ll do what I can; the rest is in God’s hands.”

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