That’s the animal ridens in me, the laughing creature, forever rising up. What’s so laughable, that a Jacqueline, for instance, as hard used as that by rough forces, will still refuse to live a disappointed life? Or is the laugh at nature—including eternity—that it thinks it can win over us and the power of hope? Nah, nah! I think. It never will. But that probably is the joke, on one of the other, and laughing is an enigma that includes both. Look at me, going everywhere! Why, I am a sort of Columbus of those near-at-hand and believe you can come to them in this immediate terra incognita that spreads out in every gaze. I may well be a flop at this line of endeavor. Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably, when they sent him back in chains, which didn’t prove there was no America.
– Saul Bellow