describe the purpose of the novel
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Herzog is often called autobiographical, a claim not wanting in evidence. Bellow wrote the book in multiple locations, namely Puerto Rico, New York, and Chicago, while in the throes of a marital crisis. The crisis was rooted, to Bellow's shock, in the disloyalty of his closest friend, Jack Ludwig, who was found having an affair with Bellow's second wife, Sondra. Therefore Bellow's second marriage may very well have unraveled in a similar fashion to his protagonist's. Herzog's plight throughout the book reflects the difficulties endured by the author; at the end, having rediscovered a sense of security in himself, Herzog's need for catharsis through his letter-writing evaporates much as Bellow's need to write Herzog seems to ebb. In this way Bellow's affinity with his hero is transparent.