AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 6, Number1. February 2022 Pp.30-39

In the Ethics of Strangers: Saul Bellow Drawing Boundaries of No ‘M’an’s Land  

Department of English, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities
University of Manouba, Tunisia

Rimeh Saleh Alyahya

Department of English
Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia


This paper seeks to demonstrate how space in Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein (2000) and Humboldt’s Gift (1975) is acquainted with the metaphors memory, spiritual journeys and philosophical meditations. Space, in the Bellovian sense, is not local nor is it historical (real); rather, it is fictional, utopian and philosophical. By the “the Boundaries of no ‘M’an’s Land,” the researcher underpins the sublime ideals of Bellow’s mental space. By the term “strangers,” the researcher refers to Bellow’s intellectual heroes who are identified with the metaphors of space. In this concern, two fundamental questions are investigated: a) how should one argue for the idea that metaphors of space are related to memory, spiritual journeys and philosophical meditations? b) what sense can be given to the relationship between the metaphors of space and the ethics of strangers? To unmask these blind spots, the aspects of metaphors are firstly investigated. Second, the relationship between these metaphors and the ethics of strangers are examined. In the light of these primary findings, the conclusion which can be drawn is that the metaphors of space do not only epitomize the quality of American, cultural, aesthetic and philosophical discourse, but also draw imaginary homelands of “strange” intellectuals. Special focus will be given to Ravelstein and Humboldt’s Gift. Bellow’s other novels and short stories are deployed to support the thesis. The Kantian notions of human welfare and moral worth and the Hegelian assumptions of the phenomenology of spirit are key concepts to illustrate the analysis.

Cite as:

Marrouchi, R., & Alyahya, R. S.  (2022).  In the Ethics of Strangers: Saul Bellow Drawing Boundaries of No ‘M’an’s Land   . Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 6(1) 30-39.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol6no1.3


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Bellow, S. (1964). Herzog. New York: Foucault world Library.

Bellow, S. (1976). Mr. Sammler’s Planet. New York: Fawcett World Library.

Bellow, S. (1995). It All Adds Up: From the Dim Past to the Uncertain Future. New York: Penguin.

Bellow, S. (1975). Humboldt’s Gift. New York: Viking Press.

Bellow, S. (2000). Ravelstein. New York: Penguin Books.

Hegel, G.F.W. (1977). The Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hill, T. E. Jr. (2002). Human Welfare and Moral Worth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mackie, J.L. (2001). Hume’s Moral Theory. New York: Routledge.

Stern, R. (2002). Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit. London: Routledge.

Bauman, Z. (2007). Postmodern Ethics. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.


Dr. Ramzi Marrouchi, the author of Images of Madness in Henderson the Rain King and Herzog, (Scholars Press, 2019), and Functional English for Potential Achievers, (Scholars Press, 2020), Life and Fiction in Defoe’s Moll Flanders (BP International, 2021). He lectured in different universities in Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. He participated at several international interdisciplinary conferences in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Britain, the USA and Morocco. His fields of interest are Jewish American fiction, deconstructionism and theories of texts. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1287-2143

Dr. Rimah Alyahya procured her Ph.D. in English Literature from Princess Nora University in 2005. She became the Chairperson of the English and Translation Department in 2006 and then the first female Vice-Rector of the Women’s Campus in Prince Sultan University. She was  then appointed as the first female Deputy Minister for Private Higher Education and is now a member of the Saudi Shura Council.