Lighting out for the global territory : postwar revisions of cultural anthropology and Jewish American identity in Bellow’s Henderson the rain king
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Saul Bellow enthusiastically explored the creative possibilities of globalization after World War II, imagining a space of creative freedom outside the boundaries of the nation-state. In so doing he helped to transform American Jewishness from a leftist culture rooted in working-class politics and racial alliances into a more syncretic, market-oriented form of identity. His major work of travel fiction, Henderson the Rain King, criticizes European colonial discourse and valorizes the hybrid cosmopolitan Dahfu, psychotherapist and African king, who acts as Henderson’s intellectual mentor. Although antiracist in intent, Bellow’s vision of travel-fueled 3 professional autonomy opposes collective movements for social change and nationalist resistance to imperialism, which helps to explain his neoconservative turn in the 1970s.
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Strand, E. (2013). Lighting out for the global territory : postwar revisions of cultural anthropology and Jewish American identity in Bellow’s Henderson the rain king. ELH, 80(1), 287-316. doi:10.1353/elh.2013.0000