f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: <i>Slate</i> on Ben Marcus vs. Jonathan Franzen

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, October 24, 2005

Slate on Ben Marcus vs. Jonathan Franzen

Slate summarizes the little feud going between Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen. Franzen you'll remember is the author of both The Corrections and some essays on the state of literature that we discussed: "Mr. Difficult" and "Why Bother?"

"Why Bother?" was published in Harpers to a significant amount of acclaim and was important enough in Franzen's career that it became known as the "Harper's Essay." The worm has a habit of turning, however, and so it's not without a small amount of irony that Ben Marcus recently took Franzen to task in the very magazine that helped establish his reputation in the essay, "Why Experimental Fiction Threatens to Destroy Publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and Life as We Know It."

Slate summarizes the entire imbroglio, references a few of literary history's other squabbles, and generally suggests everybody get a grip.