The Dean's December

The Dean's December is a 1982 novel by the American author Saul Bellow.

The Dean's December
First edition cover
AuthorSaul Bellow
CountryUnited States
PublisherHarper & Row
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Preceded byHumboldt's Gift 
Followed byMore Die of Heartbreak 


The first novel Bellow published after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976, it is set in Chicago and Bucharest.


The book's main character, Albert Corde, a meditative academic who faces a crisis, accompanies his Romanian-born astrophysicist wife to her Communist-ruled native country, where they deal with the death of his mother-in-law. This sojourn allows Corde to observe the workings of a totalitarian regime in particular and the Eastern Bloc in general, a perspective which provides him with insight into the human condition.


In the New York Times Book Review, critic Robert Towers concluded, “The Dean's December confirms me in the opinion I have held since, nearly 30 years ago, I read The Adventures of Augie March (having, as an impecunious instructor, paid out hard cash for my hardcover copy just off the press): Sentence by sentence, page by page, Saul Bellow is simply the best writer that we have.”[1]


  1. ^ Robert Tower, “ A Novel of Politics, Wit and Sorrow,” The New York Times Book Review, January 10, 1982.

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