Mark Athitakis tries to figure out just how arrogant Franzen is being when he tell us that “At this point in my life, I’m mostly influenced by my own past writing.”
Relatedly, my problem with articles like this is that they just assume that Franzen, Wallace, et al. are important authors because . . . they are. Or at the most they’ll toss in the fact that they managed to pull home a little trophy or two as an indication of their importance to literary culture:
If he had to go, Franzen decided, he might as well stack the deck with friends, so he brought aboard Eugenides. Between them, Eugenides, Franzen, and Wallace now had a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and a novel that launched a thousand fan sites and created a highbrow generational hero. The early years were over.
For all the huffing and puffing in this article about how the post-Pynchon crew were trying to solve the big questions about the novel’s place, relevance, etc, the piece is far more interested in celebrity gossip and glad-handing than telling us anything interesting about the books.