After his parents emigrated from St. Petersburg, he was born in Lachine, Quebec and then schooled in the United States. Bellow has taught at the University of Minnesota, New York University, Princeton, the University of Chicago and Boston University. He currently is a professor of English at Boston University.
Interestingly enough, he received his undergraduate degree not in English, but in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. It seems the study of Anthropology has had an interesting influence on his literary style.
Although not as widely acclaimed as some of his novels, Bellow's later works include the powerful and extraordinarily well-crafted collection of short stories entitled Him with His Foot in His Mouth. Bellow's story lines are led by the personal quests and crises of his protagonists rather than by action. Our introduction to a Bellow protagonist is often at a point of deep crisis in the character's life. Whether romantic, financial or sparked by other causes, the turmoil experienced by a typical Bellow protagonist leads to deep existential questioning. Bellow artfully manages to reference the teachings of great philosophers and thinkers within many of his novels, usually without damaging their readibility or disrupting story flow. One terrific example of this technique is seen within Mr. Sammler's Planet, Bellow's novel about a curmudgeonly Holocaust survivor living in New York City amid the cultural revolution of the 1960s.