Jonathan Franzen Essays

Winner of the 2001 National Book Award for The Corrections (2001), Franzen is regarded as one of the best emerging novelists of the twenty-first century.A strong believer in both the power and necessity of literature, Franzen has produced three novels which have identified him as a growing presence in the literary world and an articulate voice in the ongoing debate over the evolving direction of fiction.Receiving extremely positive reviews and a high initial order, Franzen looked forward to achieving his goal of releasing a critically acclaimed work of “high art” that would engage his target audience.

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The Corrections was released on September 15, 2001 in New York City.

Several weeks later, Franzen learned that talk show host Oprah Winfrey planned to make it the next selection for her popular “Oprah's Book Club,” an action that virtually ensured that the book would become a bestseller.

The editors accepted his proposal, beginning a long period of collaboration between Franzen and the magazine.

The articles from this association would eventually form the core for his collection of essays, How to Be Alone (2002).

Using the royalties from The Twenty-Seventh City, Franzen and Cornell traveled throughout Europe and hoped to mend their relationship.

While in Europe, Franzen began work on Strong Motion.

The deaths of both of his parents, the eventual breakup of his marriage, and the poor sales of Strong Motion brought Franzen to a crossroads where he considered quitting writing entirely.

Ultimately rejecting this idea, he approached The New Yorker with an idea for a journalism piece.

Major Works The title The Twenty-Seventh City takes root in the fact that St.

Louis was once the fourth-largest city in America, later falling to twenty-seventh.


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