I’m not terrifically familiar with Franzen’s writing; all I’ve read is that writers took issue with this, especially because why bother picking on. DaBuds Network Solutions Computer, Network and Telecommunications Consulting Services. Chicago, IL. Jonathan Franzen charts out his intellectual and personal landscape And a couple, ‘Why Bother?’ and ‘The Reader in Exile’, state a tentative.

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bofher Those who began reading as social isolates are usually classed as more likely to become professional writers when they mature. In the listening audience would be my family: Still, his one redeeming faith, hard won, lies in the marginalised republic of readers and writers ‘united in their need for solitude, in their pursuit wny substance in a time of ever-increasing evanescence: In contrast, Franzen posits that in the current cultural, media, and technological circumstances, major cultural problems are themselves cognitively reduced to surface issues for which immediate cures must be found.

The essay was initially published in the April issue of Harper’s between the publication franzenn Franzen’s novels Strong Motion and The Corrections Given his run-in with Oprah Winfrey, botjer infamously ‘deselected’ The Corrections as one of her books of the month, on the grounds that its author seemed ‘conflicted’ about her largesse, there is something apposite about this coolly evangelical tone.

Rudeness, irresponsibility, duplicity, and stupidity are hallmarks of real human interaction: Franzen’s essays correct misperceptions. We live in a tyranny of the boother. I had lots of models for the kind of uncompromising novel I wanted to write.

Communication for the Bentwoods meant books, a telephone, and letters. Topics Biography books The Observer. These were unhappy days. This entry was posted in Reading Response and tagged ” Why Bother?

Writers and readers have always been prone to this estrangement. Otto Bentwood, if he existed in the nineties, would not break down, because the world would no longer even bear on him.

Observer review: How to be Alone by Jonathan Franzen | Books | The Guardian

They find Franzen, over the past decade or so, creating for himself a space in which to write, and laying the foundations, moreover, for a place in which writing might be made to be heard. If we go any further than that, our agendas begin to diverge radically.


MFA programs offered housing and workfare to the underemployed; a few crackpot city-loving artists continued to hole up in old warehouses; and visiting readers could still pay weekend visits to certain well-policed cultural monuments — the temple of Toni Morrison, the orchestra of John Updike, the Faulkner House, the Wharton Museum, and Mark Twain Park.

I saw CNN holding hostage the travelers in airport lounges and the shoppers in supermarket bbother lines. Difficult ” Farther Away Retrieved from ” https: First there was mass suburbanization, then the perfection of at-home entertainment, and finally the creation of virtual communities whose most striking feature is that interaction within them is entirely optional — terminable the instant the experience ceases to gratify the user.

In the past, when 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. How To Be Alone: Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular.

Silence in the s seemed only to guarantee that I would be alone. She lurked in airports at least before the arrival of CNN. Louis I would explain, The novelist has more and more to say to readers who have less and less time to read: Perchance to dream Harper’s Magazine Perchance to dream In the age of images, a reason to write novels.

But whg apology and every defense seems to dissolve in the sugar water of contemporary culture, and before long it becomes difficult indeed to get out of bed in the morning. She wants to keep dreaming. I was depressed, though, to franezn that several of my best writers had vowed never to take a literature class again. His need to write, and his despair at not being heard, manifested itself in depression and solitude. His concern with poverty is with a poverty fundamental to man.

Howell finally married the occupational therapist, Noeline was taken to the disturbed ward. And these insights are the sole legacy of the social novelist who desires to represent the world not simply in its detail but in its essence, to shine light on the morally blind eye of the virtual whirlwind, and who believes that human beings deserve better than the future of attractively priced electronic panderings that is even now being conspired for them.


In the long run, the breakdown of communitarianism is likely to have all sorts of nasty consequences. The writer of average talent who wants to report on, say, the plight of illegal aliens would be foolish to choose the novel as a vehicle. The black lines on the wall are both a mark of doom and the harbinger of an extraordinary relief, the end to a fevered isolation. The persistence of a market for literary fiction exerts a useful discipline on writers, reminding us of our duty to entertain. They were the main prize, the consolation for no longer mattering to a culture.

If we see religion and art as the historically preferred methods of coming to terms with this Ache, then what happens to art when our technological and economic systems and even our commercialized religions become sufficiently sophisticated to make each of us the center of our own universe of choices and gratifications?

Jonathan Franzen Why Bother Essay

The reader laughs with the writer, feels less alone with the sting. Works by Jonathan Franzen.

Louis on a fancy book tour? Nabokov pretty well summed up the political platform that every novelist can endorse: A reduced context but a more intense one. This is no surprise, since the only problems worth advertising solutions for are problems treatable through the spending of money. Home Products Google Apps.

In a winter when every house in the nation was haunted by the ghostly telepresences of Peter Arnett in Baghdad and Tom Brokaw in Saudi Arabia — a winter when the inhabitants of those houses seemed less like individuals than a collective algorithm for the conversion of media jingoism into an eighty-nine-percent approval rating — I was tempted to think that if a contemporary Otto Bentwood were breaking down, he would kick in the screen of his bedroom TV.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Here, indeed, we are up against what truly seems like the obsolescence of serious art in general.

“Why Bother?” | New Literature

Communion with the virtual community of print requires solitude, after all. On the East Coast, Heath found a strong element of class in this. Was the novel autobiographical?