Lecture 24 - Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

The American Novel Since 1945

Yale

In this first of two lectures on the students' choice end-of-semester novel, Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated (2002), Professor Hungerford models several methods for approaching and evaluating a new work of fiction. She shows how Foer borrows and adapts themes and styles from other authors on the syllabus in service to his ambition as a writer to demonstrate the power of narrative fiction to address the great historical traumas of our time. In thus attempting to marry the nineteenth-century social novel with Postmodernist, or late Modernist, techniques, Foer participates in an emerging tradition that risks the confusion between resonant emotion and sentimental cliché.

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