Frazzled Franzen

HBO has refused to go ahead with the adaptation of Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections. People are saying it’s because the novel is too bookish for TV. I can imagine that Franzen isn’t finding this funny. But his haters must be tickled by this bit of disappointment for an author who has lately been touted as a sexist dinosaur. He famously implied that his novels were too good for Oprah, soccer moms, and women in general. Recently, he wrote an essay in the New Yorker, dissing American novelist, Edith Wharton, making such a big deal of the fact that Wharton was not physically attractive. Of course, literary feminists were on hand to give Franzen a good scolding.  His love for controversy knows no bounds. The other day, he came out and said,”Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose.” His main issue is that 140 characters are just not enough. (Read the rest of the comment HERE.) Trust the junta of social media enthusiasts to pounce on him. Oh by the way, Franzen is not as cute as the photo would like you to think. They got his good angle.

On the twitter thing, I think social media militants need to chill. What’s there to freak out about? If it were possible to write a novel in 140 characters, twitting would be much less irritating to Franzen. Sue him for that. In my view, Franzen is making two very simple and non-threatening points: 1. I’m not keen on tweeting. 2. Not everything is tweetable e. g. a footnote within a footnote.


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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.


  1. Sad and Female? Eat or Go to Pinterest | Brittle Paper - 2012/06/13

    […] form of media? Novels too have recently been the object of a a similar anxiety. American novelist, Jonathan Franzen, and other male authors have said that they are concerned that men don’t read novels anymore […]

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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