Franzen, Jonathan

Franzen, Jonathan,

1959–, American novelist, b. Western Springs, Ill., B.A. Swarthmore College, 1981. His first two novels, The Twenty-Seventh City (1988) and Strong Motion (1992), were well received critically but failed to garner a large readership. His next, The Corrections (2001, National Book Award), a sprawling contemporary family saga, won critical plaudits and became a best seller. Freedom (2010), a compelling story of a suburban Midwestern family, was also published to acclaim. To a large degree in contemporary fiction, the realistic, sociologically and psychologically acute description and analysis of the modern family has become Franzen territory. His essays and other nonfiction pieces are collected in How to Be Alone (2002), Farther Away (2012), and The End of the End of the Earth (2018). His memoir, The Discomfort Zone, appeared in 2006, his translation of Frank WedekindWedekind, Frank
, 1864–1918, German dramatist. He was also a journalist and publicist, and he worked on the staff of Simplicissimus. A forerunner of the expressionists, he employed grotesque fantasy and unconventional characters in order to attack the bourgeois
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's play Spring Awakening in 2007, and his translation and commentary on essays by Karl KrausKraus, Karl
, 1874–1936, Austrian essayist and poet, b. Bohemia. His satirical review the Fackel lashed out at hypocrisy, intellectual corruption, and the machine age. His voluminous works include Worte in Versen (9 vol., 1916–30, partial tr.
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 in 2013.


See L. C. Hill, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2003); S. J. Burn, Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism (2008).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Franzen, Jonathan. The Twenty-Seventh City: A Novel.
Franzen, Jonathan. "Perchance to Dream: In the Age of Images, A Reason to Write Novels." Harper's Magazine (1996):35-54.
She was an out-of-print novelist rediscovered by Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Lethem and other authors young enough to be her children.