Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King and the Zany Postwar Novel


  • Annika M. Schadewaldt Universität Leipzig



postwar, Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King, zany, imitation, style, transnational


This essay argues for understanding Saul Bellow’s 1959 novel Henderson the Rain King“ as an instance of the zany, a writing style of ‘desperate playfulness’ that is characterized by its ludicrous imitation. While the novel’s formal unevenness, peculiar affective mix of exhaustion and comedy and seemingly unending intertextual references has long occupied critics and scholars alike, approaching the novel as zany not only allows us to piece together these seemingly unrelated elements of the novel but also to shed light on the novel’s negotiation of the changing role of American literature abroad anchored in its satirizing of the Hemingway code here.

Author Biography

Annika M. Schadewaldt, Universität Leipzig

Annika M. Schadewaldt is a PhD candidate at the Institute for American studies at Leipzig University where she also teaches classes in American literature and culture. Her writing has previously been published in aspeers: emerging voices in american studes as Beyond the Margins: A Journal of Graduate Literary Scholarship. She also co-authored a book on literary theory after 2001 for Matthes & Seitz.




How to Cite

Schadewaldt, Annika M. “Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King and the Zany Postwar Novel”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, Aug. 2022, pp. 71-87, doi:10.5283/copas.359.