Jonathan Franzen vs. Philip Roth: Battle of the Literary Novelists

This fall brings us a battle of the white male literary novelists: Both Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen have new books out.

The 77-year-old Roth—a winner of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer, and a perennial favorite for the Nobel Prize—has dominated the American literary world for 50 years. He released Nemesis last week. At 51, Franzen—also a National Book Award/Pulitzer-winner—recently became the first novelist in a decade to adorn the cover of Time magazine (with the label "Great American Novelist," no less) as part of the deluge of praise surrounding his fourth titanic novel, Freedom, published on August 31st. Both new novels have received high praise from the critical establishment, with a few notable exceptions.

Which new release is worth picking up? Consider here the relevant facts:

Presented by

John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

Just In