Abstract

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.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 90-109
Launched on MUSE
2014-08-18
Open Access
No
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