Saul Bellow loved Spain and Spanish culture and mined his experience there in three pieces: “Spanish Letter,” a nonfiction account; “The Gonzaga Manuscripts,” a short story; and a section in Humboldt’s Gift in which Charlie Citrine goes to Madrid. In his fiction Bellow uses Spain as a place where his idealistic and somewhat foolish heroes go on a typical Bellovian journey, a personal and spiritual quest in which they undergo humiliation and self-mortification—a comedic quest that in this context can only be called quixotic.

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