Reading and Belief: Or Can One Still Be God-Propped on Mr Sammler's Planet?


  • John Strugnell


Artur Sammler, the central character of Saul Bellow's novel Mr Sammler's Planet, is a little at odds with the society in which he finds himself. lt is America in the seventies. Sammler is in his seventies too. It is not just his age which is the problem. Everything about his background and experience makes it difficult for him to fit in: he is a Jew, he narrowly escaped death in World War II, his tastes are formed by his time spent in England in the twenties, his favourite reading is the medieval mystic Meister Eckhardt. It is no wonder he finds it difficult to cope with the response of a student audience he is invited to address. His attempts at reasonable argument are met with cries of, "That's a lot of shit" (p.42).