Nobel Prize winning (1976) American
novelist, author of such books as The Adventures of Augie March,
the Rain King, Herzog, Humbolt's Gift, Mr. Sammler's Planet, The Dean's
During the seventies, Bellow developed an interest in Anthroposophy.
In a review of one of Barfield's books Bellow writes: "We
are well supplied with interesting writers, but Owen Barfield is
nor content to be merely interesting. His ambition is to set us free .
. . from the prison we have made for ourselves by our ways of knowing,
our limited and false habits of thought, our 'common
Bellow: A Biography of the Imagination and James Atlas' Bellow: A
Biography both offer accounts of Bellow
and Barfield's relationship.
According to the online Saul
Bellow Society and Journal,
During this period of time [of
the writing of Humboldt's Gift (1975), Bellow registered in essay and fiction his final disapproval of Freud's notions on the unconscious and sought further understanding about meditative states and transcendental experience through his reading of Rudolph Steiner and Owen Barfield. He had begun his discussions on anthroposophy with Professor Le May, a trusted mentor, discussions which lasted until Le May's death in 1983. His relationship with the famous British anthroposophist, Barfield, seems to have been almost entirely one-sided. While Bellow sought understanding from Barfield, it seems that Barfield eschewed the mentor role and made at least two fairly public statements about how little Bellow's fiction moved or interested him. Nevertheless, Bellow had enrolled himself in the "theosophical kindergarten" in his attempts to penetrate the contemporary barriers to higher consciousness.
Bellow's The Dean's December in Towards