American Energies by Sven Birkerts
Essays on Fiction

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Award-winning writer Sven Birkerts takes on contemporary American fiction in this provocative new collection of essays. In these insightful pieces, Birkerts evaluates the postmodern literary scene and the effect the media, especially television, have had on the way we think and write. The most crucial essay, "The Talent in the Room," sets the theme for the book, as Birkerts discusses the diminished possibilities for the "great American novel" to be written. The essential connection between past and present has been severed, he argues, and a sense of history and depth, and the distinctions between high and low culture, have faded, only to be replaced with a glut of information from the computer age and the homogenized forces of television and mass communication. In other essays, Birkerts examines the diversity of the novelistic styles of such established writers as Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Thomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo, and such writers just beginning to gain reputation as Paul Auster, Leslie Marmon Silko, and David Foster Wallace. American Energies confirms Birkerts's stature as one of the major essayists of our time.

About Sven Birkerts

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Sven Birkerts is the author of eight books, including The Art of Time in Memoir, Reading Life, Readings, and The Gutenberg Elegies. He has taught at Harvard University and currently directs the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the editor of AGNI. He lives in Massachusetts.
Published June 1, 1992 by William Morrow & Co. 413 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Fifty-odd essays on American letters and the American scene, by Harvard critic Birkerts (The Electric Life, 1988;

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