Posts Tagged: jonathan franzen
Quoting writers from Alexander Pope to Jonathan Franzen, Hu argues that the apparently ever-progressing “death” of the book review is perhaps a more nuanced process than it first appears:
“Perhaps a large problem in the decline of good criticism is that readers no longer know how, or where, to find critics, and, more importantly, how to define what makes it Good.”
Hu’s essay is in some aspects a continuation of the narrative established in Elizabeth Gumport’s 2011 essay “Against Reviews” for N+1, an impassioned argument for a complete rethinking of the form and its uses....more
Bibliophysicists now speculate that no less than three parallel versions of Jonathan Franzen can coexist at any given moment, and the variant, some say, could be much higher. This assortment of Franzens—and how readers interpret them—can make an impartial reading of his work problematic....more
At Salon, David Daley argues that “Jonathan Franzen and the Web will never get along.” Daly points us to an anecdote in Franzen’s “On Autobiographical Fiction” in contending that both the author and his critics are misinterpreting and talking past each other....more
Over the past couple weeks, Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker essay on Edith Wharton has incited a number of responses.
At The Daily Beast, Marina Budhos examines why Franzen took such a “tortuous and offensive back door route” to find sympathy for Wharton, instead of “exploring empathy” for an author who, she argues, faced similar writerly preoccupations as Franzen himself....more
In this Awl piece, Michelle Dean weighs in on Jonathan Franzen’s declaration that David Foster Wallace “fabricated at least part of—and potentially a large part of—his nonfiction pieces.” The article looks back at Wallace’s statements about his nonfiction, and discusses both “the Franzen paradox” and the dynamics of the “Wallace-Franzen friendship.”
“In a faint echo of the (frequently too academic) debate about the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, the question of whether or not either of these statements are empirically true, as descriptions of Wallace, strikes me as beside the point....more
When you’re playing host for your literary idol, there is a lot of opportunity for panic and embarrassment.
Wendy MacLeod recounts Jonathan Franzen’s visit to Kenyon, recalling her anticipatory anxieties, how to avoid sending out stalker-ish vibes, and what it’s like to be acutely aware of dining room acoustics....more
Jonathan Franzen dispensed some optimistic guidance in a NY Times Op-Ed essay, an adaptation of his recent commencement speech to Kenyon graduates.
He covers techno-consumerism, the environmentalist anger that once confined him to his room and his bird-watching revelation that assuaged his real life qualms....more
“I do not believe that apparent authoritative literary voices of validation would ever make such a grand claim about a novel written by a woman. I say this because I believe there are many novels by women that are about the same sort of world as presented in Freedom. Sadly, the culture usually calls these books domestic or family sagas. Are the novels of Anne Tyler, Marilynne Robinson and Mona Simpson any less white and middle “American” than Franzen”...more
This week in New York Colm Tólbín brings Henry James to us, Furnace Press Decomposes, Jonathan Franzen returns home, Sex workers share their family tales, Myla Goldberg gets crafty, Classic cocktails, classic film, Comic and Graphics Fest goes to church, poetry touches on wartime, and Free in ART....more
“A book arrives that in the opinion of the reviewer outrages a principle of politics or philosophy or history or art, and will lead its readers into error or illusion, and will coarsen discourse or experience—for such are the stakes in books, the power of books, and the real nihilism is to deny it.”
Leon Wieseltier at The New Republic defends his own frequently “negative” criticism, specifically of Franzen’s Freedom....more
This week Stephen Elliott is in town for the paperback release of The Adderall Diaries, Jonathan Franzen celebrates Freedom, Tao Lin brings Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment to BookCourt, Fashion takes you out on the town, Gigantic and Open City are home sweet home, and Nara premieres at the Asia Society....more
“It is not the job of critics or awards to simply reaffirm the bestseller, boxoffice, and Billboard lists. Quite the contrary, isn’t it their job to seek out the work that isn’t getting the attention it deserves? Isn’t it a public service, really, to highlight work that doesn’t have the marketing behind it?”
At The Faster Times, Lincoln Michel ponders the heated divide between “commercial” fiction and “literary” fiction in light of the praise recently garnered by Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom....more
Friday October 16, the New Yorker opened its annual weekend festival of readings, conversations, art tours and musical performances. This is my account of the events I attended, which included among others a talk with Malcolm Gladwell, readings by George Saunders, Gary Shteyngart and Jonathan Franzen, a musical performance by Neko Case and a conversation with James Franco....more
The New Yorker Festival is fast approaching, and tickets are on sale now. As always, the festival, which runs from October 16-18, promises to bring together the most interesting minds in literature and the arts including Jonathan Franzen, A.M. Homes, Gary Shteyngart, Tilda Swinton, Malcolm Gladwell and many others....more