Burn, Stephen. Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism. London: Continuum, 2008.
Jonathan Franzen’s position in the contemporary American literary landscape is a curious one. His two latest novels – The Corrections (2001) and Freedom (2010) – have been more or less universally lauded by literary critics. Freedom was thus proclaimed a “masterpiece of American fiction” on the front cover of the New York Times Book Review, and in the Guardian it was hailed as nothing less than “the novel of the century.” And last fall The Corrections was chosen as the best novel of the past decade in a widely publicized poll involving several prominent authors and literary critics. Despite this lavish praise, Franzen’s novels have been largely neglected by literary scholars, at least compared to contemporaries like David Foster Wallace and Richard Powers, who have both had entire books and special issues of journals devoted to their work.