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Conversations with Saul Bellow on Esoteric-Spiritual Matters

A Publisher’s Recollections

October 2017
More details
  • Publisher
  • Published
    13th October 2017
  • ISBN 9781621482079
  • Pages 76 pp.
  • Size 5" x 8"
  • Images Color and B/W

In 1975, Saul Bellow published his eighth novel, Humboldt’s Gift, in which the main protagonist is occupied with, among other things, the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Although the novel was an immediate success and won a Pulitzer Prize, leading to Bellow’s Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, the unapologetic presence of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy in a work of such obvious cultural importance was, and remains, puzzling for many commentators. A sentence from one contemporary review of the novel is typical: “I am not clear whether Charlie’s devotion to Steiner’s Anthroposophy is one of Mr. Bellow’s more obscure jokes or is meant seriously.”

Those readers with more than a passing knowledge of Steiner’s work, however, immediately recognized that an authentic effort to come to terms with anthroposophy in an unbiased way was behind Bellow’s artful depiction of Charlie Citrine.

Stephen Usher, who later became the manager of the Anthroposophic Press (now SteinerBooks), was one such reader. This book offers a personal account of the conversations and correspondence that followed their meeting through a mutual acquaintance, and includes the foreword Saul Bellow wrote then for the book of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, The Boundaries of Natural Science.

Stephen E. Usher

Stephen E. Usher, Ph.D., is an economist with expertise in money, banking, and financial markets. He received his doctorate from the University of Michigan and served as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1978 to 1980. His tenure overlapped with Paul Volcker, president of the NY Fed until President Carter appointed him Fed Chairman in August 1979. After heading Anthroposophic Press from 1980 to 1988, Mr. Usher joined a premiere international firm of consulting economists (NERA) and specialized in securities and financial markets. Mr. Usher established his own economic consulting business in 1999. He has lectured hundreds of times in business, cultural, and academic settings and taught introductory economics courses at Rockland Community College in New York and principles of money, banking and financial markets at SUNY as adjunct faculty. Mr. Usher has published numerous books.