Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides's new novel is The Marriage Plot, a complicated college love story set in the early 1980s.

From his Q & A with Jessica Grose at Slate:

Slate: What made you decide to use your alma mater, Brown, as a setting?

Jeffrey Eugenides: I was going to set it at a different college. At a fictionalized college. Then I started writing it, and it seemed too much trouble for what it was worth. I knew Brown better. Who would I be kidding if I fictionalized it and called it B college. I figured there’d been lots of novels about Harvard and other places so why not Brown.

Slate: There’s a set of cultural expectations that people have when you namecheck Brown—like the obsession with semiotics, which was still in full effect when I attended. Did you major in modern culture and media when you were there?

Eugenides: It was called the program in semiotics studies, and it wasn’t a department. It was just starting out, really, which is partially why the craze seemed so at its height, with people taking sides whether this was an appropriate discipline or not.

Slate: The novel seems to gently mock the study of semiotics, but...[read on]
Discover which book changed Jeffrey Eugenides's life.

--Marshal Zeringue