The Eloquent Professor Bellow

[by way of Powerline] Columnist John Podhoretz writes on a University of Chicago seminar series with Saul Bellow and Allan Bloom.

Bloom was a tall, imposing man–sloppy and careless, dripping cigarette ash that would burn little holes in his very expensive suits and ties. He spoke loudly, often exploding into laughter at his own cleverness and compelling attention with a strange stutter,

Bellow, by contrast, was neat and precise, slight and thin; he spoke in a quiet and deliberate manner that commanded attention as easily as Bloom’s histrionics.

… [Bellow] would speak for three or four minutes. And when he was finished, you realized that what he had just done was spontaneously speak a beautifully written essay. Every word in every sentence had been exactly where it should have been, each sentence flowed perfectly from the last, without a pause or an “um” or any of the other verbal devices we lesser mortals use to gather our thoughts as we speak.

He goes on to describe a time Bellow showed Bloom that an old romance was wordy and difficult, not the “most profound depiction of romantic passion the world had ever seen” as Bloom thought it was.

John Podhoretz is a columnist for the New York Post and National Review Online, an editor with the Weekly Standard and ReganBooks, and a FOX News Channel contributor.