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Szajnberg, N. (2021). Bellow: From a One-Person to a Two-Person Representation: a Lifetime’s Evolution. IJP Open, 8:11.

(2021). IJP Open, 8:11

Bellow: From a One-Person to a Two-Person Representation: a Lifetime’s Evolution

Nathan Szajnberg

Two-person models of psychoanalysis are now accepted, even common-place, whether called interpersonal (Bromberg, 1993), or relational (Aron, 1990) , or field (Ferro, 2020), or intersubjective (Kantrowitz, Jacobs, Balter 2021). This paper articulates how Saul Bellow, novelist, Nobelist, shifted representations of his protagonists, in his almost memoirist novels from his first one-person perspectives in the 1940’s and’50’s introduced in The Victim or Dangling Man, Seize the Day, developed in the fuller-voiced Augie March, through a transitional more conflicted two-person, but struggling often erotized perspective (Henderson the Rain King, Herzog) to the maturing of a two-person inner and non-erotic representation perspective introduced in Sammler’s Planet and most matured in his final novel, the roman a cléf, Ravelstein. In more humanistic terms, Bellow shifts his protagonists from narcissism to a more mature relational perspective, a “…space of mutuality, of a deeper and tender form of loving.” (Fisher, 2021). How a fine novelist develops concepts of inner life, increasingly richer, more humane concepts, over a life time career, that captures what psychoanalysis has recently conceptualized in theory? Our task is to chart the development of Bellow’s novels a they parallel, even preceded psychoanalytic perspectives since the 1950's.

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