Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saul Bellow on Augie March

 From a letter to Bernard Malamud:

"There are times when I think how nice it would be to edit a new and better novel out of it. But I can't allow myself to forget that I took a position in writing this book. I declared against what you call the constructivist approach. A novel, like a letter, should be loose, cover much ground, run swiftly, take risk of mortality and decay . . . Having brought off my effort as well as I could, I must now pay the price. You let the errors come. Let them remain in the book like our sins remaining in our lives. I hope some of them may be remitted. I'll do what I can; the rest is in God's hands."


JM said...

God, I love this excerpt. So important to remember that the roughness is part of it all. In both theater and writing, there is so much pressure to make our work clean and tight, clean and tight, as though we were tending to assholes, not works of art.

SM said...

"Let them remain in the book like our sins remaining in our lives."

That's my favorite line here. Feels really right.

And yes, we are writing books, not cleaning bums! Thanks for the reminder, my dear.