Franzen, Jonathan, 1959–, American novelist, b. Western Springs, Ill., grad. Swarthmore College (B.A., 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 era's family has become Franzen territory. The author has also written two volumes of essay: How to Be Alone (2002), many of which, along with a number of short stories, were first published in The New Yorker, and Farther Away (2012), a collection of essays, speeches, and reviews. His memoir, The Discomfort Zone, appeared in 2006, and his translation of Frank Wedekind's play Spring Awakening in 2007.
See L. C. Hill, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2003); S. J. Burn, Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism (2008).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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