AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February   2021                                Pp. 296-323

The Evolution of Post-Postmodernism: Aesthetics of Reality and Trust in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and Freedom

Department of European Languages & Literature
College of Arts and Humanities, King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Dahban, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Department of European Languages & Literature
College of Arts and Humanities, King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Dahban, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


This study aims to find out how literature moves from the postmodern thought, flourished until the 1990s, to the post-postmodern phenomenon. The study traces the evolution of this new phase as depicted in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001) and Freedom (2010). It proposes these two works as examples of how over the past two decades, literature shifted from postmodernist fiction’s irony and skepticism that presents novels as “literature of emergency” to ethical objectivism and neo-realism (Franzen, 2002, p. 258). The purpose of the study is twofold. Firstly, it examines Franzen’s deployment of elements such as the subjective perception of truth, self-restraint, control, and knowledge, which he utilizes to understand reality. Secondly, it explores his employment of narrative tools (e.g., omniscient narrator, metafiction, intertextual dialogue) against postmodern fragmentation and deconstruction. By doing so, Franzen, this study demonstrates, reflects post-postmodernism’s core realist ideas that stress pragmatic interactions with the characters and readers’ cognizance of reality and encourage engagement with the narrative’s language to rework the novel’s social and cultural authority. These post-postmodern narratives reference fictional texts, real-life people, and authentic historical events that exemplify various models, simulations, and patterns of reality within and beyond the text, creating a mediated experience that enables communication with and understanding reality.

Cite as:

 Aljadaani, M. H., & Al-Sharqi, L. M. (2021). The Evolution of Post-Postmodernism: Aesthetics of Reality and Trust in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and Freedom. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1).296-323  .
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no1.21


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Mashael H. Aljadaani is a lecturer at the English Language Institute at Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia. She received her MA in English Literature from King Abdul-Aziz University. Her research interests include postmodern literature and gender studies. ‘’The Subversion of Gender Stereotypes in Donald Barthelme’s Snow White’’ is an example of her research.ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4252-3013


Laila Mohammed Al-Sharqi is an associate professor of English in the Department of European Languages and Literature at King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia. She received her Ph.D. in literary theory and cultural studies from the University of Nottingham. Her research interests include postmodern literature, literary theory, gender studies. “Magical realism as a feminist discourse in Raja Alem’s Fatma” and “Twitter Fiction: A new creative literary landscape” are examples of her research.ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8142-1525