I’m not terrifically familiar with Franzen’s writing; all I’ve read is that essay everyone writers took issue with this, especially because why bother picking on I had the opportunity to meet Jonathan Franzen this past October. Jonathan franzen essay why bother. Theology essay scientific revolution thematic essay conclusion, ward churchill september Franzen, Jonathan. How to be alone: essays /Jonathan. Franzen.—1st ed. p. cm. . retitled it “Why Bother?”) .. no memory of being bothered.

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I see the authority of the novel in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as an accident of history — of having no competitors.

This last group is particularly large. Wh not just any third novel. The educated single New Yorker who in read twenty-five serious novels in a year today has time for maybe five. During this time, Franzen finds parallels to his own life’s ambiguities surrounding a war to those of the Brooklyn protagonist in the novel Desperate Characters dealing with the despair surrounding the Vietnam War.

Against the advice of the husband, Otto, she has given milk to a homeless cat, and the cat has repaid the kindness by biting her hand. Franzen found himself attributing this to the gap presented by magazines and newspapers no longer committing to book reviews in significant numbers due to the market having little use for the individual “final” product of writers, as opposed to more temporary and dispensable forms of entertainment. Those who began reading as social isolates are usually classed as more likely to become professional writers when they mature.

Not only did I feel that I was different from everyone around me, but I felt that the age I lived in was utterly different from any age that had come before. Superficially, at least, regionalism is still thriving. These are honorable writers; but no one doubts it was the size of their contracts that won them covers. Howell finally married the occupational therapist, Noeline was taken to the disturbed ward.


Perchance to dream | Harper’s Magazine

And the problem is aggravated when fiction writers take refuge in university creative-writing programs. The novelist has more and more to say to readers who have less and less time to read: Bither the past, botherr the life of letters was synonymous with culture, solitude was possible the way it was in cities where you could always, day and night, find the comfort of crowds outside your door.

Franzen mentions first his astonishment ojnathan Heath’s research methods, doing interviews in public places including public transit systems, airport waiting areas and resorts seeking what Heath defines as “enforced transition zones”. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Franzen also expresses great worry that the spread of this process will make young writers expect only to write within the context of their particular “ethnic or gender identity”, ironically losing diversity of literature by seeking diverse cultural groups’ literature.

History is the rabid thing from which we all, like Sophie Bentwood, would like to hide.

Perchance to dream

I suspect that art has always had a particularly tenuous purchase on the American imagination because ours is a country to which so few terrible jonathn have ever happened. It was not, I said. For centuries, ink in the form of printed novels has fixed discrete, subjective individuals within significant narratives. Franzen then formulates a long-term opposition to literary culture, beginning with Platoand extending the trend through to the contemporary arguments that literature is “undemocratic” and not politically viable.

Your family versus your country, your wife versus your girlfriend. The persistence of a market for literary fiction exerts a useful discipline on writers, reminding us of our duty to entertain.


And eventually it dawned on me that the despair I felt about the novel was less the result of my obsolescence than of my isolation. In a review of The Corrections botber The eXileJohn Dolan criticized the novel for not realizing Franzen’s ambition as expressed in the essay. The country was preparing for war ecstatically, with rhetoric supplied by George Bush: Email required Address never made public.

She lurked in airports at least before the arrival of CNN. DeLillo joanthan a postscript: The actuality is continually outdoing our talents. The work of transparency and beauty and obliqueness that I wanted to write was getting bloated with issues. As an unashamed elitist, an avatar of the printed word, and a genuinely solitary man, he belongs to a species so endangered as to be all but irrelevant in an age of electronic democracy.

Franzen suggests that the writing that shares the most political agency and aesthetic dignity would embody the values of expressive languageand urging the reader to look beyond appearances.

Why Bother? (essay)

You ask yourself, why am I bothering to write these books? Retrieved 20 February I had a cosmology of silent heroes and gregarious traitors.

The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less ffanzen engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.

Tragic realism has the perverse effect of making its adherents into qualified optimists.