Franzen On The Book, The Backlash, His Background
A touch of Franzenfreude
Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner Speak Out On Franzen Feud
Arts & Letters Daily
Nine years ago, literary darling Jonathan Franzen and cultural tastemaker Oprah Winfrey had a rather public moment that was widely seen as a clash between high and middlebrow sensibilities. That year, Oprah was set to have Franzen's "The Corrections" as her next book club pick. In an interview, Franzen commented that her previous choices for the club had been "schmaltzy, one-dimensional" novels. Franzen was immediately disinvited from appearing on Oprah's show, and the media rumor mill was in a frenzy for a time. It appears that Franzen and Winfrey have patched things up, as she has picked his latest novel, "Freedom", as her final book club selection. The book has already been selling quite well, and the official endorsement from Oprah will no doubt drive sales numbers up. Alongside this announcement comes recent criticism from several well-known authors (including Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner) who argue that much of the mainstream literary world summarily ignores popular fiction, instead focusing much of their attention on works by "high-art" authors such as Franzen.
The first link will take users to a piece from last week's Guardian about Oprah's recent book club selection. The second link leads to an interview with Franzen from NPR's Fresh Air radio show. Moving on, the third link leads users to a thoughtful piece by the Guardian's Katha Pollitt about gender literary politics and other relevant matters. The fourth link takes visitors to a conversation with Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult about what role gender plays in literary criticism and the importance of popular fiction in our culture. The fifth link whisks users away to the homepage of Publishers Weekly, which is a great source of information about the publishing world. The final link leads to Arts & Letters Daily, which is a round up of interesting online materials related to the humanities offered up as a public service by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
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