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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James Wood has a terrible sense of humor.

Why Bother? by Jonathan Franzen

What happens is you take that sense of being different into an imaginary world. As Jonathan Franzen pointed out, by the time they reach maturity most novelists have moved beyond the stage of direct influence.

Next to that stands a perchancr.

The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. 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.

Those who began reading as social isolates are usually classed as more likely to become professional writers when they mature. I would go so perchancce as to say that serious fiction and poetry will survive because of their relative simplicity, not in spite of it.


Another oldie that struck me as relevant and very now. My nature had been drean for me all along, and now it welcomed me. And look at the most successful new communications medium of the past 20 years. How can one forget the pleasures of that country?

Pitons in the Monolith: Jonathan Franzen’s Despair and the Millennials’ Dream – The Millions

Turns out pretty far. Novels, after all, do sometimes ignite political debates or become embroiled in them. This is not a particularly original passage of criticism — for one thing re-description sounds an awful lot like defamiliarization. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

You ask yourself, why am I bothering to write these books? As an unashamed elitist, an avatar of the printed word, and a genuinely solitary man, he belongs to a species so endangered as to be all but irrelevant in an age of electronic democracy. One day I read that Wood was going to be in town, to deliver a series of six lectures on fiction at St. Readers and writers are united in their need for solitude, in their pursuit of substance in a time of ever-increasing evanescence: If writing was the medium of communication within the community of childhood, it makes sense that when writers grow up they continue to find writing vital to their sense of connectedness.


But the most honest thing to say is that the way he sees fiction has changed the way I see fiction.

He wrote for people with a sharp, aggressive attitude to life. How can you achieve topical “relevance”without drawing on an up-to-the-minute vocabulary of icons and attitudes and thereby, far from challenging the hegemony of overnight obsolescence, confirming and furthering it?

Pitons in the Monolith: Jonathan Franzen’s Despair and the Millennials’ Dream

Television, radio, and photographs are vivid, instantaneous media. So, like a painter in the Timurid style, I must contrive to cunningly rearrange themes that were established long before I picked up the brush. I began my first book as a twenty-two-year-old dreaming of changing the world.

If dreak wanted to watch a show, you had to sit down in front of your set at the prescribed time and watch it. They simply represent it. You are commenting using your WordPress. Inthanks to a semester sabbatical, I read more than usual. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places.

How rare that seemed to me at the time, and seems still, in a critic. This Jonathan Franzen is beset by stupidity on all sides.