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    A Manuscript Draft of Saul Bellow's Second Novel, The Victim

    Saul Bellow (Canadian-born American novelist, 1915-2005). Manuscript Draft of The Victim [n.p., ca. 1946-1947]. Apparently a very early draft of this manuscript, which differs substantially from the final published form (published by Vanguard Press in 1947). This draft consists of carbon copies of 274 typed pages - most with extensive typed, or occasionally manuscript, corrections, and seventy pages entirely in the author's hand, mainly in ink. All pages are approximately 11 x 8.5 inches, rectos only. All pages presumably were originally white. Each page has been professionally de-acidified and placed into polyester pockets, two pages per pocket. Additionally, the handwritten pages have sheets of "perma-life" acid-free paper between them. All pages are housed in two custom-made cloth clamshell cases and slipcase. An excellent and fascinating document. This manuscript was a gift by Bellow to Marion and Harold Watson, friends that Bellow had made while teaching at the University of Minnesota from 1946 to 1948.

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    The Victim was published in 1947, when Bellow was teaching at the University of Minnesota. This intensely personal novel (although it is considered to be one of his "apprentice works," before he found the true power of his literary voice in The Adventures of Augie March, 1953), involves Asa Leventhal, a Jewish man in early middle age, who lives with fear and paranoia, and acutely suffers from fear of anti-Semitism. He encounters Kirby Albee, an old acquaintance, who blames Leventhal for the loss of his job, and hurls anti-Semetic remarks at him. Through the course of the novel, Leventhal and Albee come into conflict, but eventually both begin to grow and mature, and, by the end, they are able to accept the world for what it is, and take responsibility for their place in it. Bellow eventually regarded his first two novels, Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim as immature (certainly when compared to his later works) - considering Dangling Man his "M. A.," and The Victim as his "Ph.D."

    Bellow went on to have one of the most distinguished literary careers of any American novelist in the twentieth century - winning the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts, and the National Book Award for Fiction three times (still the only writer to win that distinguished award three times), as well as numerous other honors. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    6th Wednesday
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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