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195

Scavenging

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terms
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notes

another essay about the death of reading and thus writing. also about how he first started writing on a typewriter, in college. ends with the image of a broken chair in note 336

Franzen, J. (2003). Scavenging. In Franzen, J. How to Be Alone. Picador, pp. 195-210

(adj) having no match or equal; unrivaled OR (noun) an unrivaled or matchless person or thing

198

the nonpareil of total audience

—p.198 by Jonathan Franzen
strange
3 years, 7 months ago

the nonpareil of total audience

—p.198 by Jonathan Franzen
strange
3 years, 7 months ago
200

It's healthy to adjust to reality. It's healthy, recognizing that fiction such as Proust and Faulkner wrote is doomed, to interest yourself in the victorious new technology, to fashion a niche for yourself in the new information order, to discard and then forget the values and methods of literary modernism which older readers are too distracted and demoralized to appreciate in your work and which younger readers, bred on television and educated in the new orthodoxy of identity politics and the reader's superiority to the text, are almost entirely deaf and blind to. [...] Healthy, when you discover that your graduate writing students can't distinguish between "lie" and "lay" [...]

apropos of nothing, the "lie" and "lay" thing was in Purity i think lol

—p.200 by Jonathan Franzen 3 years, 5 months ago

It's healthy to adjust to reality. It's healthy, recognizing that fiction such as Proust and Faulkner wrote is doomed, to interest yourself in the victorious new technology, to fashion a niche for yourself in the new information order, to discard and then forget the values and methods of literary modernism which older readers are too distracted and demoralized to appreciate in your work and which younger readers, bred on television and educated in the new orthodoxy of identity politics and the reader's superiority to the text, are almost entirely deaf and blind to. [...] Healthy, when you discover that your graduate writing students can't distinguish between "lie" and "lay" [...]

apropos of nothing, the "lie" and "lay" thing was in Purity i think lol

—p.200 by Jonathan Franzen 3 years, 5 months ago
210

[...] Not long ago, one of my former undergraduate workshop students came to visit, and I took him on a walk in my neighborhood. Jeff is a skilled, ambitious young person, gaga over Pynchon's critique of technology and capitalism, and teetering between pursuing a Ph.D in English and trying his hand at fiction. On our walk I ranted at him. I said that I too had once been seduced by critical theory's promise of a life unco-opted by the System, but that after my initial seduction I came to see that university tenure itself--the half-million-dollar TIAA-CREF account in your name, the state-of-the-art computer supplied to you at a university discount by the Apple Corporation for the composition of your "subversive" monographs--is the means by which the System co-opts the critical theorist. I said that fiction is refuge, not agency.

Then we passed a delicious trash pile, and I pulled from it a paint- and plaster-spattered wooden chair with a broken seat and found a scrap of two-by-four to knock the bigger clumps of plaster off. It was grubby work. Jeff said: "This is what my life will be like if I write fiction?"

—p.210 by Jonathan Franzen 3 years, 5 months ago

[...] Not long ago, one of my former undergraduate workshop students came to visit, and I took him on a walk in my neighborhood. Jeff is a skilled, ambitious young person, gaga over Pynchon's critique of technology and capitalism, and teetering between pursuing a Ph.D in English and trying his hand at fiction. On our walk I ranted at him. I said that I too had once been seduced by critical theory's promise of a life unco-opted by the System, but that after my initial seduction I came to see that university tenure itself--the half-million-dollar TIAA-CREF account in your name, the state-of-the-art computer supplied to you at a university discount by the Apple Corporation for the composition of your "subversive" monographs--is the means by which the System co-opts the critical theorist. I said that fiction is refuge, not agency.

Then we passed a delicious trash pile, and I pulled from it a paint- and plaster-spattered wooden chair with a broken seat and found a scrap of two-by-four to knock the bigger clumps of plaster off. It was grubby work. Jeff said: "This is what my life will be like if I write fiction?"

—p.210 by Jonathan Franzen 3 years, 5 months ago