Octavo (200 × 155 mm), one page, on the author's Barrytown, New York letterhead (top and bottom edges deckled), 7 October 1953.
Folded once for posting; two punctuation corrections in the author's hand; in excellent condition.
'Dear Leon, Thank you for your note. It pleased me greatly, particularly since, as I take you to be a Jamesian through and through, you have probably had to overcome a considerable initial prejudice against so many violations of the good old canons. One can never predict the quarter from which appreciation will come. I should have thought it would come from those who nominally share my literary views but many of these have landed on me with both feet. I suppose position-holding or theoretical allegiances can never take the place of sensibility. I recently visited Lachine and Montreal. Next to my birthplace in Lachine there is a vast new supermarket under construction, and Montreal too has changed enormously. Nevertheless, the old places were still there, and even some of the old people. We must certainly get together one of these days.' This letter was written just a few weeks after publication of Bellow's breakthrough third novel, 'The Adventures of Augie March', which won the National Book Award in 1953. 'But, in retrospect, the experience was somewhat disconcerting as well, for it revealed to Mr Bellow certain prejudices within the literary community that would last for many years. ''I began to discover,'' he says, ''that while I thought I was simply laying an offering on the altar like a faithful petitioner, other people thought I was trying to take over the church"' (from 'A Talk with Saul Bellow: on his Work and himself' by Michiko Kakutani, in the 'New York Times', 13 December 1981). Provenance: Collection of The Hon Barry Jones AC.
Provenance: Collection of The Hon Barry Jones AC.