To the Editor:
Reading Saul Bellow with a generational sensibility, as Hilton Kramer does in “Saul Bellow, Our Contemporary” [June], gets at the essence of Bellow’s greatness as an American writer, but also reveals one of his limitations as a specifically Jewish writer.
Saul Bellow’s generation of American Jews will remain unique. Their parents were European immigrants, and they themselves were the first sizable generation of Jews, or at most the second, to speak with American accents, and thus to be assimilable Americans. None of this can or will be repeated on anything approaching the scale it enjoyed throughout the middle of this century. The tension between Americanness and Jewishness proved remarkably fertile, intellectually speaking, and out of that generation came a number of first-rate writers and thinkers.
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