"Perchance to Dream"

Jonathan Franzen writes (quite a long while back) about the novel as a literary form.   He manages to touch on a number of different things in the process.   There's really a lot here.  Here's a taste:
"Panic grows in the gap between the increasing length of the project and the shrinking time-increments of cultural change:  how to design a craft that can float on history for as long as it takes to build it?  The novelist has more and more to say to readers who have less and less time to read: where to find the energy to engage with a culture in crisis when the crisis consists in the impossibility of engaging with the culture?"
"We live under a tyranny of the literal.  The daily unfolding stories of Steve Forbes, Magic Johnson, Timothy McVeigh, and Hillary Clinton have an intense, iconic presence that relegates to a subordinate shadow-world our own untelevised lives."
"Imagine that human existence is defined by an Ache:  the Ache of our not being, each of us, the center of the universe;  of our desires forever outnumbering our means of satisfying them.   If we see religion and art as the historically preferred methods of coming to terms with this Ache, then what happens to art when our technological and economic systems and even our commercialized religions become sufficiently sophisticated to make each of us the center of our own universe of choices and gratifications?"
 "There's no bubble that can stay unburst."
Full text here...

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"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." — Proverbs 18:2