In “Mr. Difficult,” Franzen resuscitates a number of dead binaries so that he can murder them again, but perhaps the most grotesque of them all is his opposition between the “active” and “passive” reader. Gaddis’ J R , Franzen writes, “is written for the active reader. You’re well advised to carry a pencil with which to flag plot points and draw flow charts on the inside back cover.” This is vintage Franzen, a moment of self-aggrandizement (here he’s pitching his new style in The Corrections ) cooked up in a batter of Midwestern common sense. But Gaddis, especially the Gaddis that Joseph Tabbi’s biography shows us, never chides the reader for being “active”; nor does he assume that any moment of reading anything is “passive.” For Gaddis, that would be an insult to the reader’s intelligence, to her ability to read, translate, hear for herself. And his stance against this kind of dead thought is a literary politics that is built to last.
Letters & Essays Jonathan Franzen's fiction bears the mark of a Midwest upbringing, his books preoccupied with quiet lives nurtured The Twenty-Seventh City is set in his native St. Louis, but Franzen wrote the majority of the novel while Jonathan Franzen's How to Be Alone – The American…11 May 2015 I first read How to Be Alone, a collection of essays by Jonathan Franzen , when I was 15—before I knew who William Gaddis was, or could In Purity, Jonathan Franzen takes on the internet – and…13 Oct 2015 Traditionally, Jonathan Franzen writes in a darkened room, blindfolded, with He had written a call to arms in a 1996 essay that decried the Stop Sending Me Jonathan Franzen Novels – The…6 Oct 2015 pieces by Barrett Brown, including this one, on Jonathan Franzen's friend Ulin mentions that Franzen penned a 1996 Harper's essay on the Jonathan Franzen Is Coming to a Burrito Bag Near…22 Sep 2015 This fall, Foer and Chipotle recruited Jonathan Franzen to write one of their illustrated essays that will be adorning their paper bags and cups. Jonathan Franzen to edit “The Best American…18 Apr 2016 Jonathan Franzen is editing the next edition of The Best American Essays . The contents haven't been revealed yet, but rumor has it that Jonathan Franzen voyages to the end of the world – LA…16 May 2016 When novelist Jonathan Franzen received an unexpected inheritance from In a new essay in the New Yorker, the author of "The Corrections". Jonathan Franzen on iBooks – iTunes – ApplePreview and download books by Jonathan Franzen , including Freedom, The Corrections, Purity, and many The Best American Essays 2016; View in to Dream – Shirley Brice HeathHARPER'S MAGAZINE/APRIL 1996 $. PERCHANCE TO DREAM. In the Age of Images, a Reason to Write Novels. By Jonathan Franzen . OUR NEXT RACE Karlynne Ejercito reviews Jonathan Franzen's The…Karlynne Ejercito reviews Jonathan Franzen's The Kraus Project: Essays by Karl Kraus. Attending each successive report of Jonathan Franzen's latest public This is why Jonathan Franzen infuriates: Breaking down…31 Oct 2015 Who is Jonathan Franzen and what is the comedy of rage? pieces, and his three books of personal essays —"How to Be Alone" (2002), "The Jonathan Franzen's Conservation Essay Gets…6 Apr 2015 Jonathan Franzen's latest New Yorker essay offers a dim view of how humans should prioritize two causes that are, according to him, in conflict: "Do Not Mention David Foster Wallace": On Jonathan… 8 May 2012 cover I had set out to review Jonathan Franzen's newest release (Farther Away: Essays ) with only one goal in mind — “Do Not Mention David The Millions : Pitons in the Monolith: Jonathan… 29 Apr 2011 So begins Jonathan Franzen's famous essay , “Perchance to Dream,” which appeared in Harper's fifteen years ago this month. The essay
Franzen doesn't engage with Tolstoy and Flaubert because he figures (I figure) that they can look after themselves. He prefers to deploy his power as a lobbyist, "a pleader on behalf of yet another underappreciated writer". (In the case of Munro, Franzen seems somewhat to overstate the extent of her underappreciation.) No binoculars are needed to see the overlap between this kind of literary activism and his dedication to bird-watching and protection (the subject of the two longest pieces in the book). He's pledged to the protection of endangered species of writers whose books are rarely but eagerly sighted in secondhand shops.