The Family Dynamic as Cultural Zeitgeist: Comparing the Novels of Jonathan Franzen and Jeffery Eugenides; Nov 8-10, SAMLA

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Anthony Dotterman/Adelphi University
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While Jonathan Franzen has "persistently claimed natural descent from Don Delillo," readers have continually compared Franzen to Jeffery Eugenides on the basis of their mutual exploration of Midwestern and generational heritage. Indeed, as Evan Hughes points out, Franzen and his contemporaries have been engaged "in a kind of generational struggle to make sense of the post modern literary legacy . . . especially as a guide to writing about the new, weird America of the eighties and nineties."
Keeping this idea in mind, the following panel welcomes submissions of original essays that examine the use of family and place in the novels of Jonathan Franzen and Jeffery Eugenides. Particularly, how do these writers intertwine their descriptions of families living in a particular time and place with the story of larger American society and institutions? Or, how do the vices and failings of these families and their value systems mirror the larger failings of American corporations, social movements, government, etc? What do these approaches say about the challenges and/or possibilities facing contemporary writers wishing to engage in social commentary through their work?
Please submit abstract of no more than 500 words to by June 10, 2013.