Chris Lehmann

Chris Lehmann is features editor for the New York Magazine.

Recent Articles

Literati: The Oprah Wars

N o sooner had American culture bid its sober official farewell to irony than the literary world veered headlong yet again into the gruesome (yet ever comforting) ironies of cultural warfare. The occasion was novelist Jonathan Franzen's widely publicized affront to Oprah Winfrey, who had made his novel The Corrections the choice of her book club for the month of October. Among Franzen's trespasses was the observation that as a writer "solidly in the high-art literary tradition" he felt a bit squeamish about the Oprah's Book Club imprimatur; indeed, the embossed book-club seal of approval struck him as a unwelcome corporate logo, slapped carelessly onto the cover of a work he still regarded as "my creation." He was also intemperate enough to say that he found some Oprah picks "shmaltzy" and "one-dimensional." Never mind that all these remarks were followed promptly by appreciations of Oprah as "really smart" and someone "fighting the good fight." Or that they were delivered nearly in...