Herzog | Study Guide

Saul Bellow

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Herzog | Characters

Character Description
Moses Herzog Moses Herzog is a failed intellectual and lover of women who finds himself in a state of despair after his wife leaves him for his best friend. Read More
Madeleine Pontritter Madeleine Pontritter, nicknamed Mady, is Moses Herzog's second wife. Unhappy in her marriage, she leaves him for his best friend, Valentine Gersbach. Read More
Valentine Gersbach Valentine Gersbach, popular Chicago radio announcer, charms Madeleine Pontritter away from Moses Herzog, who used to be his best friend. Read More
Ramona Donsell Ramona Donsell, Moses Herzog's lover, is a tough and successful woman with a sensual and domestic side who wants to help Moses Herzog get over his divorce. Read More
Lucas Asphalter Lucas Asphalter is an old childhood friend of Moses Herzog's who saves the life of one of his lab monkeys by giving the animal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Daisy Daisy, Herzog's first wife, is a straitlaced woman and mother of Marco, Herzog's son.
Dr. Edvig Dr. Edvig is the Chicago psychiatrist who treated both Madeleine Pontritter and Moses Herzog at the same time even though Dr. Edvig likely had romantic feelings for Madeleine.
Dr. Emmerich Dr. Emmerich is Moses Herzog's doctor who, Moses believes, had more interest in Madeleine's well-being than Herzog's.
Jonah Herzog Moses Herzog's father, Jonah Herzog is an emotionally demonstrative man and a serial failure. Now deceased, his memory is vivid in Moses's mind.
June Herzog Moses Herzog's young, sweet daughter, June Herzog, lifts his spirits by loving him and not turning against him after circumstances separate them and she acquires a new stepfather.
Marco Herzog Marco Herzog is Moses Herzog's son from his marriage with Daisy. Barely seeing his son causes Herzog a significant amount of guilt and anxiety.
Sarah Herzog Moses Herzog's mother, Sarah, appears in his memories from childhood as caring and dutiful to her husband and children.
Shura Herzog Moses Herzog's wealthy brother, Shura Herzog, is very generous with Moses but typically remains distant and aloof from the family.
Willie Herzog Moses Herzog's loyal and patient brother, Willie Herzog, bails him out of jail, makes him see a doctor for his injuries, and checks on Moses when he is falling apart at the Ludeyville house.
Monsignor Hilton Monsignor Hilton is the Catholic priest who advised Madeleine Pontritter during her conversion to Catholicism. Moses Herzog writes a letter to the monsignor.
Sandor Himmelstein Moses Herzog's friend and Madeleine Pontritter's lawyer, Sandor Himmelstein tries to play both sides. Herzog feels legally neglected but loved by him.
George Hoberly George Hoberly is a former boyfriend of Ramona Donsell. She has cut him out of her life, but he makes a nuisance of himself.
Nachman Nachman, a friend from Moses Herzog's childhood in Canada, is a suffering poet who, ashamed and in misery, avoids Herzog when they run into each other on the street in New York City.
Sono Oguki Sono Oguki is a former lover of Moses Herzog whom he was seeing while still married to Daisy. He leaves Sono when Madeleine Pontritter comes into his life.
Fritz Pontritter Moses Herzog's father-in-law Fritz Pontritter is a flamboyant, successful theater director who begs Herzog to marry his young daughter Madeleine.
Tennie Pontritter Tennie Pontritter is Moses Herzog's mother-in-law who, though she is divorced, still does everything for her ex-husband, including washing his socks.
Geraldine Portnoy Geraldine Portnoy is the babysitter who writes Moses Herzog a letter describing a potentially abusive incident in which Herzog's daughter June is locked in a car by herself at night.
Ravitch Ravitch, a drunkard, was a boarder in the Herzog home in Chicago when Moses Herzog was a child. The family called him Uncle Ravitch, but Moses is unsure whether he was a blood relation.
Egbert Shapiro Egbert Shapiro is a pretentious scholar and friend of Moses Herzog who visits the Ludeyville house and gets reeled in by Madeleine's conversation and good looks.
Simkin Simkin is the Pontritter family lawyer who offers to help Herzog win custody of his daughter, June, from Madeleine Pontritter.
Arnold Sissler Arnold Sissler is Libbie Vane-Erikson-Sissler's third husband, who is kind and welcoming to Moses Herzog when he attempts to relax by the sea at their house in Martha's Vineyard.
Tante Taube Tante Taube, Moses Herzog's wise stepmother, is Jonah Herzog's second wife. Tante is German for "aunt" and is used as a respectful term for older female relations of various types.
Mr. Tuttle Mr. Tuttle, the Ludeyville local who runs the town, helps Moses Herzog turn the power back on in his country house.
Mrs. Tuttle Mrs. Tuttle helps Moses Herzog clean up the Ludeyville house when he is ready to begin a new life.
Herman Umschand Herman Umschand, husband of Madelaine Pontritter's cousin Zelda, is a Cook County politician who knows the criminal mob. He accepts Moses Herzog into the family and likes to go to the Russian steam baths in the city.
Zelda Umschand Zelda Umschand is Madeleine's confidante who knows all the secrets of the marriage, including details of Moses Herzog's sexuality.
Teodoro Valdepenas Teodoro Valdepenas is a cab driver who takes Herzog to the courthouse in New York.
Libbie Vane-Erikson-Sissler Libbie Vane-Erikson-Sissler, Moses Herzog's friend and confidante, invites him to visit her and her third husband in Martha's Vineyard. Herzog sneaks away and leaves without saying goodbye soon after they show him to his room.
Wachsel Wachsel is a cousin of the lawyer Simkin who is also a lawyer, an associate in the district attorney's office. Simkin arranges to meet Moses Herzog at Wachsel's office, but that meeting never happens.
Wanda Wanda is a lover Moses Herzog met in Poland when he ran off to Europe to escape the pain of his divorce. Herzog remembers how she wanted him to meet her husband.
Zygmunt Zygmunt is Wanda's husband, whom she insists Herzog meet.
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