Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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J
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B
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man knows. As I know mine. As all know. For that is the truth
of it—that we all know, God, that we know, that we know, we
know, we know.”
Does Bellow’s novel end on a note of hope or of despair? In
Herzog,
Bellow had decried wasteland ideologies. But the incanta-
tory repetitions of the conclusion to Mr.
Sammlefs Planet
recall
the closing lines of T. S. Eliot’s
The Hollow Men:
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Those repetitions recall, also, the second chapter of Genesis. What
are the terms of the contract that every man knows in his inmost
heart? That he must die. And why must he die? Because, having
eaten of the forbidden tree of knowledge he is destined to know,
to know, to know.