- Purchase/rental options available:
Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country (1998) chastises a particular strain of contemporary American fiction. This literature, in the Rortyan schema, is more “knowing” than “inspirational”; its cynical complexity stymies related possibilities of moral improvement and patriotic hope. This article brings Rorty’s theory to bear on Freedom, the 2010 novel by Jonathan Franzen. I argue that Freedom troubles the strict oppositions of Rorty’s schema in two fundamental ways: (1) it offers a vision of America at once postmodernist and patriotically hopeful, and (2) it is aesthetically complex and morally compelling.