Understanding Dave Eggers

Understanding Dave Eggers

Understanding Dave Eggers

Understanding Dave Eggers

Synopsis

Understanding Dave Eggers surveys the work of one of the most celebrated American authors of the twenty-first century and is the first book-length study incorporating Eggers's novels, short-story collections, and film scripts. With a style aimed at students and general readers alike, Timothy W. Galow offers a textual analysis that uniquely combines Eggers's early autobiographical works and the subject of celebrity as well as his later texts that deal with humanitarian issues.
Galow devotes a chapter to each of Eggers's major works, from his first book, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, though his recent novel, A Hologram for the King, a National Book Award finalist about an aging American businessman chasing success in Saudi Arabia. Other chapters cover You Shall Know Our Velocity, What Is the What, and Zeitoun.
Each chapter studies the major themes and styles of the featured work while also placing it in the context of Eggers's oeuvre. In this way Galow examines each text in its own right, but he also offers us a larger guide to all of Egger's work. Providing important historical background for understanding Eggers's literary work, Galow examines how Eggers's texts are deeply invested in both his own public persona and the changing cultural conditions in the United States over the past twenty years.
Galow's careful analysis is conveyed in clear language that engages issues important to contemporary critics without being pedantic or jargon laden. As a result Understanding Dave Eggers can serve as a useful introduction to the author's work or a valuable resource for the devoted reader.

Excerpt

The Understanding Contemporary American Literature series was founded by the estimable Matthew J. Bruccoli (1931–2008), who envisioned these volumes as guides or companions for students as well as good nonacademic readers, a legacy that will continue as new volumes are developed to fill in gaps among the nearly one hundred series volumes published to date and to embrace a host of new writers only now making their marks on our literature.

As Professor Bruccoli explained in his preface to the volumes he edited, because much influential contemporary literature makes special demands, “the word understanding in the titles was chosen deliberately. Many willing readers lack an adequate understanding of how contemporary literature works; that is, of what the author is attempting to express and the means by which it is conveyed.” Aimed at fostering this understanding of good literature and good writers, the criticism and analysis in the series provide instruction in how to read certain contemporary writers—explicating their material, language, structures, themes, and perspectives—and facilitate a more profitable experience of the works under discussion.

In the twenty-first century Professor Bruccoli’s prescience gives us an avenue to publish expert critiques of significant contemporary American writing. The series continues to map the literary landscape and to provide both instruction and enjoyment. Future volumes will seek to introduce new voices alongside canonized favorites, to chronicle the changing literature of our times, and to remain, as Professor Bruccoli conceived, contemporary in the best sense of the word.

Linda Wagner-Martin, Series Editor . . .

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