Saturday, March 10, 2007


Dave Eggers himself briefly seemed to be our generation’s Andre Breton. Like Breton, he was a provocateur. He gathered allies as Breton had. He revived the institution of the claque as a tool in literary disagreements. He was likewise indefatigable in the generation of new spectacles, and hysterical about his public persona. Like Breton (Nadja), he attempted real literature in the form of memoir. Each man drew on a sentimental topic (parentless children, a woman’s madness) to motivate an apologia for the literary school he had created, and to show how it manifested a practice of daily life. The Surrealists’ preoccupation with the sex of women was Breton’s underlying concern, as Eggers’s subject reflected the Eggersards’ obsession with childhood as a way of life. From raising a child as the treasure house of one’s own moral genius (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), to the editorship of anthologies for teens (Best American Nonrequired Reading), to a writing-tutor program (826 Valencia)—this is the substitute for transcendence in the Eggersard world.

3:34 PM