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No Left Turns

Saul Bellow and the ol’ War between Poetry and Philosophy

Joe Knippenberg notes the death of Saul Bellow below and the good link to the ’New York Times’ obituary.

In today’s ’New York Post,’ John Podhoretz offers a very nice reminiscence of Bellow teaching with Allan Bloom at the University of Chicago. Bellow stood toe to toe with Bloom as the ol’ war between philosophy and poetry was reenacted between these two old friends, the histrionic erotic representative of philosophy and the dapper, calm and rational poet. Very nice.

Bellow’s ’Ravelstein’ is the triumph of poetry over philosophy, or, at least, of the poet, Chick, over the philosopher, Ravelstein.

Discussions - 2 Comments

I had a lot of friends who took those seminars (I think I know who Podhoretz’s "Peter" is, for example). Bloom and Bellow would, I remember hearing, have lunch before class and then essentially continue their conversation in the class.

I’m sure Podhoretz does justice to Bellow in his remembrance. I’m less certain that he does justice to Bloom, whom he wants to treat largely as a foil for Bellow’s brilliance.

The older I get the more I think that the poet should triumph over the philosopher--at least in this life. Perhaps philosophy will triumph in the end--as it probably should--but until then poetry should master.

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