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Henderson the Rain King (Penguin Great Books…
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Henderson the Rain King (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) (originale 1958; edizione 1984)

di Saul Bellow

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
2,867544,925 (3.72)96
Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah. A hilarious, often ribald story, HENDERSON THE RAIN KING is also a profound look at the forces that drive a man through life.… (altro)
Utente:Cathyvil
Titolo:Henderson the Rain King (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
Autori:Saul Bellow
Info:Penguin Books (1984), Paperback, 352 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:**
Etichette:Nessuno

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Il re della pioggia di Saul Bellow (1958)

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» Vedi le 96 citazioni

I have tried several times to read Augie March and just can’t. So I thought it was time to try something different. Although I don’t think Bellow is my cup of tea—the book is a comedy of sorts about a rich American who has a mid-life crisis in a remote corner of Africa—I have to hand it to Bellow. He manages to keep one’s interest and make some serious observations in the context of what is largely a very funny book. That said, it was written in 1959 and seems surprisingly (to me, anyway) dated for such a major work. ( )
  Gypsy_Boy | Aug 25, 2023 |
This is my first experience with Bellow, and I was searching for the metaphorical, allegorical or symbolic meaning in this novel. The firs few chapters are the strongest - Henderson is introduced as a complex, flawed, hilariously huge and strong drunkard. He is controlled by the life forces that beat and surge within him. He has a mysterious connection with the animal kingdom which becomes clearer as the novel progresses.

When he arrives in Africa as the third wheel on his friend's honeymoon, the narrative connection to reality becomes tenuous. Bellow seems to acknowledge this shift in passages wherein Henderson struggles with his own ideas of reality and unreality. There are scenes both psychologically acute and physically ridiculous. Henderson is aware of his own brutishness, his unstoppable urges, his deep-down affection for his fellow man. Henderson is looking for and finds personal redemption: unfortunately, Bellow seems to say that this redemption is only available to those wealthy folks who have the time to go off the grid. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
Azért csuda egy könyv ez. Bellow az egyik legnehezebb én-elbeszélő típust választja főszereplőül: egy olyan anti-irodalmi ürgét*, aki nem pusztán pozitív vagy negatív indulatokat vált ki az olvasóból, hanem felettébb komplex érzelmeket. Henderson ugyanis tőrőlmetszett amerikai tapló (ezt mondhattam volna szebben: falstaff-i jelenség), akit azonban mégsem lehet felhőtlenül utálni, mert közben irdatlan nagy szíve van. Handabandázik, kötözködik, beletenyerel mindenbe, jobbára kínos és kellemetlen szituációkban találja magát. (Amúgy az efféle kínos szituációk nem igazán barátaim, a filmekben is legszívesebben áttekernék rajtuk, de ez legyen az én bajom. Kétségtelen, hogy ez is a komplex érzelmi hatás egyik összetevője.) Bellow mesterségbeli tudását jelzi, hogy ennek a személyiségnek egységesen harsány, ugyanakkor a maga módján igen lírai nyelvi közeget tud teremteni, amitől az egész szöveg valahogy a börleszkek világával lesz rokon. (Ez a harsányság amúgy néha szintén finoman idegesített, de ez is legyen az én bajom. Végül is az olvasó idegessége is a komplex érzelmi hatás egyik összetevője.)

Amúgy e regény egy botegyszerű allegóriaként is értelmezhető: fehér ember menni Afrika, és jól elbarmolni mindent. Persze nem feltétlenül rossz szándékból: egyszerűen azt hiszi, az általa ismert nyugati civilizációs szabályok egyetemesek, és el sem tudja képzelni, hogy a világ bármelyik szegletében nem fogadják el ezeket evidenciaként. Ám számomra ennél is érdekesebb, hogy ez a könyv tulajdonképpen egy fejlődésregény ígérete: miközben Bellow csűri-csavarja, én mint olvasó végig azon drukkoltam, hogy ennek a sok megaláztatás és kínlódásnak legyen valami értelme, mondjuk nevelődjön hatásukra Hendersonból valamiféle magasabb létforma, vagy ahogy ő megfogalmazza: készülőből létező. Hogy ez az ígéret végső soron beváltódik-e, értelmezés kérdése. Minden olvasó döntse el magának.

* Aki mintha szándékosan ellentéte lenne az amerikai irodalmi hagyomány nagy entellektüel-szereplőinek, mint amilyen például Philip Roth Zuckermanja. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
"It's wasted on dummies–life is–they give it to dummies and fools."
"maybe time was invented so that misery would have an end"

This novel sums up my 2019 ontological reading: who am I? what's it all about? where do I go from here? "oh what fools these mortals be"

carpe diem...



( )
  mortalfool | Jul 10, 2021 |
Eugene Henderson is a man who seems to have everything — he's a millionaire pig farmer with a beautiful wife and a big family — yet he still wants something, even if he doesn't know what that something is. And thus we have the situation in Saul Bellow's 1959 novel “Henderson the Rain King.”

Henderson's quest for what turns out to be his purpose in life takes him to one of the most isolated parts of central Africa, where he befriends two chieftains and tries to help solve their tribes' water problems. In the first village he only makes matters worse and has to leave in disgrace. In the second, his presumed success in bringing rain turns him into the honored rain king and a close confident of the tribe's king, who slowly teaches Henderson how to roar like a lion, both literally and figuratively.

This is a big, brawling novel, like Henderson himself, yet its message is simple: to find yourself, lose yourself. By the time he leaves Africa, Henderson has decided to give up pigs and go to medical school. He may be in his mid-50s, but for him life has just begun. ( )
1 vota hardlyhardy | Jun 13, 2021 |
L. EUGENE HENDERSON, a multimillionaire by trade and a pathetic, swaggering clown by nature, reached an imaginary point of no return when he was 55 years old and felt that he had to go to Africa. His incessant follies, his alcoholism (he was often drunk before lunch) and his mordant discontent were more than he could bear. Henderson was “moody, rough, tyrannical and probably mad.” But he was bored. He was unhappy. Raising pigs, learning to play the violin, doing hard physical labor on his estate near Danbury--nothing could soothe his tedium vitae and general agony of spirit. Henderson was a champion sufferer, a fabulously strong giant of a man with a sentimental heart and no common sense whatever. He is the hero and narrator of “Henderson the Rain King,” a peculiar, prolix and exasperating novel by Saul Bellow.

Saul Bellow is a talented and ambitious writer best known for his “The Adventures of Augie March,” which was published six years ago. The comic extravaganza about the absurdities and trials of modern life was also written in the first person by a narrator a trifle touched in the head. But rhapsodic, tedious and stupefying as “Augie” often was, it was also intermittently funny and spangled with examples of Mr. Bellow’s richly inventive imagination. As much cannot be said for “Henderson the Rain King,” which is an unsuccessful experiment, noble in purpose but dismal in result.

Threefold Wellspring of Prose

"Henderson the Rain King" contains three major elements: grotesque comedy, which hardly ever seems comic; fantasy and adventure in Central Africa, an Africa deliberately distorted so far from reality that one half expects to meet Tarzan and his faithful Waziri on any page, and a solemn quest for “the great principles of life”--for spiritual peace, happiness and communion with truth and deity. All three elements are mixed thoroughly together, with Henderson writing a supercharged prose unlike anything ever recorded in print before, with conversations between. . . .

aggiunto da PLReader | modificaNY Times, ORVILLE PRESCOTT (Feb 23, 1959)
 

» Aggiungi altri autori (15 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Saul Bellowautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Barrett, JoeNarratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Bianciardi, LucianoTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Frenzel, Herbert A.Traduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Funk, MitchellImmagine di copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Kirsch, AdamIntroduzioneautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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To my son, Gregory
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What made me take this trip to Africa? There is no quick explanation. Things got worse and worse and worse and pretty soon they were too complicated.
Perché ho fatto questo viaggio in Africa? La spiegazione non è semplice. Le mie cose andavano sempre peggio, e a un certo punto erano diventate un viluppo inestricabile.
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Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah. A hilarious, often ribald story, HENDERSON THE RAIN KING is also a profound look at the forces that drive a man through life.

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