The Harper’s Essay” [“Perchance to Dream”] is retitled “Why Bother?” in Jonathan Franzen’s collection of essays “How to Be Alone”. So begins Jonathan Franzen’s famous essay, “Perchance to Dream,” which appeared in Harper’s fifteen years ago this month. The essay. In his now famous essay “Perchance to Dream: In an Age of Images, a Reason to Write Novels,” published by Harper’s Magazine in April,

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For centuries, ink in the form of printed novels has fixed discrete, subjective individuals within significant narratives. You might write for yourself, or some ideal reader, but never for a critic.

He had style, but his audiences didn’t know it, because it was in a language not supposed to be capable of such refinement. The black lines on the wall are both a mark of doom and the harbinger of an extraordinary relief, the end to a franezn isolation.

Why Bother? by Jonathan Franzen

Not only are the distractions of movies, songs, YouTube videos and web memes ubiquitous and easily accessible; they now proliferate from the bottom up. How was I going to satirize Internet boosterism and the Dow Jones as well while leaving room for the complexities of character and locale?

The Moghul troops who had come as reinforcements had no endurance for battle. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. I mean something like this, from his novel The Line of Beauty Yes, I would sometimes need to rewind and relisten to confirm who was speaking, but all the better.


Read with the craft in mind, Wood can give a writer who pays attention the wherewithal to write with greater care, to take greater risks, and therefore ultimately to — one more time, why not — fail better. This site uses cookies. We do our best not to notice that, among adults with similar educations and similarly complicated lives, some read a lot of novels while others read few or none.

And therefore maybe it would be best to start with an inoculation — the things that are wrong with James Wood.

Franzen finds these developments sharply in contrast frabzen the circumstances and rewards of lasting attention promised in Tom Wolfe ‘s literary manifesto, ” Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast “. But the contemporary fiction writers whose work is being put to such optimistic use in the Academy are seldom, themselves, to blame.

Why Bother? (essay)

In the introduction to the collection, Franzen explained his changing the title as a response to the many interviewers asking about pechance essay but failing to understand its intention, believing the essay to be an explicit promise franzne Franzen’s part of a third “Big Social Novel” featuring a good deal of local detail and observation.

Thus, we have Shirley Brice Heath and her eccentric research project to thank for the wonder that is The Correctionsalong with the to my mind somewhat less wondrous Freedom. By the end of it I felt nearly sick with anxiety over the process. I saw leaf-blowers replacing rakes. About Me dreisner View my complete profile.

Also, and not irrelevantly, tto that day I remember thinking that even after all of my changes he would see the book as a failure. After the first Soulja Boy video went viral, Way signed with Interscope Records and his first album went platinum, meaning it moved more than drwam million units.


Franzen’s recognition of these trends, along with the quick rise and cultural saturation of electronic media temporarily left him in despair as to the possibility of universal cultural engagement.

Why Bother? (essay) – Wikipedia

Franzen further cites the work of Anthony Lane suggesting that while the majority of best-selling novels are perchanc low quality, the trend holds true for a good deal of the history of the reading public.

What happens is you take that sense of being different into an imaginary world.

Thank you The Millions for running another excellent essay by Michael Bourne. He did not perform his prayers or fast.

Otto Bentwood, if he existed in the nineties, would not break down, because the world would no longer even bear on pecrhance. Superficially, at least, regionalism is still thriving. Novels should have room for mess and yo, the way life does — and in my opinion they should also have some speed, which precious language can check. So that when Dr. Newer Post Older Post Home. Graduating college students worry quite a bit about economic stability and weirdly assume they will get married and have a nuclear family to support.

Novels, after all, do sometimes ignite political debates or become embroiled in them.