Blogger Charlie Alderman for the Huffington Post writes in his blog post “Screw Irony: What Jonathan Franzen Learned From David Foster Wallace,” about literary critic, James Woods comparing Franzen to Thomas Pynchon and Zadie Smith as hysterical realists. He argues that the phrase misrepresents Franzen’s two latest books, Freedom and Corrections. Franzen goes so far as to define the Hysterical Realist Movement on his Wikipedia page as “a term coined in 2000 by the English critic James Wood in an essay on Zadie Smith's White Teeth to describe what he sees as a literary genre typified by a strong contrast between elaborately absurd prose, plotting, or characterization and careful, detailed investigations of real specific social phenomena.”
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Another interesting article on James Woods here.
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