Steven J. Zipperstein: Pens First Biography of Saul Bellow’s Rival and Close Friend, Isaac Rosenfeld

Stanford Professor Pens First Biography of Saul Bellow’s Rival and Close Friend, Isaac Rosenfeld

In Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (Yale University Press; publication date April 21, 2009)

Source: Business Wire, 5-5-09

Born in Chicago in 1918, the prodigiously gifted and erudite Isaac Rosenfeld was anointed a “genius” upon the publication of his “luminescent” novel Passage from Home and was expected to surpass even his closest friend and lifelong rival, Saul Bellow. Yet when felled by a heart attack at the age of thirty-eight, beside a desk piled high with manuscripts, Rosenfeld had published relatively little, his life reduced to a metaphor for literary failure.
In Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (Yale University Press; publication date April 21, 2009), Stanford historian, Steven J. Zipperstein, seeks to reclaim Rosenfeld’s legacy, examining for the first time the small mountain of unfinished works the writer left behind as well as his fiercely candid journals and letters, including many letters from Saul Bellow. Zipperstein unearths a turbulent life that was obsessively grounded in a profound commitment to the ideals of the writing life: “Few have written with Rosenfeld’s acuity about what life spent at a writing desk gives and takes away.” … 

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