“Radical Distraction” by Saul Bellow

From Saul Bellow, in an essay from 1975, published in Critical Inquiry:

“We are in a state of radical distraction,” he writes in “A World Too Much with Us,” an essay for the journal Critical Inquiry, in 1975, the same year Humboldt’s Gift appears. “I don’t see how we can be blind to the political character of our so-called ‘consumer’ societies. Each of us stands in the middle of things, exposed to the great public noise…All minds are preoccupied with terror, crime, the instability of cities, the future of nations, crumbling empires, foundering currencies, the poisoning of nature…To recite the list is itself unsettling.” (T.S. Eliot could no longer read the daily paper, Bellow writes. “It was too exciting.”)

Via a review by Tom Jokinen, of a biography of Bellow by Zachary Leader.

Pic from the NYTimes review, showing Bellow on the subway in that same year of 1975.

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