I’ve been on a bit of an Edith Wharton kick lately, reading her and reading about her. This is how I came late to Jonathan Franzen’s essay about Wharton in the New Yorker which evoked a storm of counterblasts from the likes of Roxana Robinson (who yields to the intense anger that Franzen’s condescending tone seems to beg for), Victoria Patterson in the LA review of books , and Autumn Whitefield-Madrono in the New Inquiry . All made good solid points, but I have some other points to make about how truly abysmal Franzen’s essay is. Though it is two years old, I figure that there is something to be gotten out of unloading on it some more, since I think the essay signals the sad level of the state of reading in America, at least among a group, like Franzen, who were in college in the theory period in the humanities and now think they are beyond all that. Franzen begins with a truly barflyish gesture. You know that New Critical idea of the impersonality of the author? All horseshit.
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann
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