University Of Chicago Press has come out with a new edition of a somewhat forgotten classic in the campus novel genre. Randall Jarrell was a National Book Award-winning poet who wrote only one novel, Pictures from an Institution, about the fictional Benton College. The Kenyon Review published the opening of the novel in its Winter 1953 issue. It begins: “Half the campus was designed by Bottom the Weaver, half by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Benton had been endowed with one to begin with, and had smiled and sweated and spoken for the other.”
Seeing as the latest Dave Eggers book consists of all dialogue, it’s a good time to look back on the history of all-dialogue novels. Alexander Kalamaroff, writing for The Rumpus, identifies a few examples, among them The Waves by Virginia Woolf and numerous works in Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme.
In a 6,000 word essay for The Point, founding editor Jon Baskin wades into the personal and professional psychodrama of the Franzen–Wallace friendship. Beneath the public surface, finds deep questions about the “novel of the self,” the “novel of society,” and the life worth living.