The world of Saul Bellow is peopled largely by men, often intellectuals, who manifest Bellow's unique conception of American masculinity. In this timely analysis of the Bellow oeuvre from a feminist perspective, Gloria Cronin offers a stunning and insightful critique of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist.
Drawing on her comprehensive knowledge of Western thought and Western philosophical tradition, Cronin also incorporates the brilliant insights of French feminist theory on Western male philosophers into her critique. Cronin's mastery of these intellectual traditions informs her fruitful examination of Bellow's explicit dialogue, rich consideration of his "misogyny", and the many masculinities he presents. Cronin demonstrates how Bellow's almost exclusively male protagonists simultaneously search for and destroy a lost feminine essence that they yearn for, and in so doing create their own prisons. She also looks at the self-irony pervading Bellow, the comic dimension of his character's gender struggles, and the spiritual sensibility that attempts to reach beyond gendered and other paradigms of selfhood.
A Room of His Own makes an extraordinary contribution to gender studies of masculinity and its formations.