Delusions of Grandeur

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Delusions of Grandeur

American Essays

Joey Franklin

222 pages
1 illustration

Paperback

October 2020

978-1-4962-1210-8

$19.95 Pre-order

About the Book

In Delusions of Grandeur Joey Franklin examines the dreams and delusions of America’s most persistent mythologies—including the beliefs in white supremacy and rugged individualism and the problems of toxic masculinity and religious extremism—as they reveal themselves in the life of a husband and father fast approaching forty. With prose steeped in research and a playful, lyric attention to language, Franklin asks candid questions about what it takes to see clearly as a citizen, a parent, a child, a neighbor, and a human being.

How should a white father from the suburbs talk with his sons about the death of Trayvon Martin? What do video games like Fortnite and Minecraft reveal about our appetites for destruction? Is it possible for Americans to celebrate bootstrap pioneer history while also lamenting the slavery that made it possible? How does the American tradition of exploiting cheap labor create a link between coal mining and plasma donation in southeast Ohio?

Part cultural critique, part parental confessional, Delusions of Grandeur embraces the notion that the personal is always political, and reveals important, if sometimes uncomfortable, truths about our American obsessions with race, class, religion, and family.
 

Author Bio

Joey Franklin is an associate professor of English at Brigham Young University and the coeditor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. He is the author of My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married (Nebraska, 2015), and his shorter work has appeared in many literary magazines and edited collections, including Writer's Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Gettysburg Review, The Best of Brevity, and the Norton Reader. 
 

Praise

“Franklin writes like a novelist, reasons like a theologian, and reminds us that getting it right, in both language and life, is all that matters in the end.”—Dennis Covington, author of Salvation on Sand Mountain
 

“I’m a serious admirer of Joey Franklin’s work, and this book gathers some of his very best and most culturally and politically relevant, nuanced, balanced, and penetrating essays—which, properly and widely read, might actually deepen and widen the conversation, at least a little.”—David Shields, author of The Trouble with Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power
 
 

“With candor, modesty, and a leavening of humor, he ponders sexual shame, dysfunctional families, class divisions, apocalyptic religion, and other difficult issues, inviting the reader to join him in the search for understanding.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of Imagination
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“Over the course of these ten essays, Franklin does not simply dig into the classic pillars of the self, like gender or family; he also interrogates myriad other influences that contribute to his reality with an unflinching clarity, including class, intergenerational wealth and trauma, faith and fear, ambition and envy.”—Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses

 “Removing the veil of his own misconceptions and training a floodlight on those of our shared society, Franklin unpacks notions of goodness, nakedness, perception and—with a true vitality of language—confronts the myths we both inherit and perpetuate. All delusions aside, this is a work of greatness, grand in spirit and faith, willing to upend artifice and invention for the sake of empathy. This is a writer concerned with truth and healing, alive with a sober and dazzling sense of hope.”—Jericho Parms, author of Lost Wax
 

“With certainty undergirded by fact, and wisdom that never overreaches, these essays are grand (and not at all delusional).”—Debra Monroe, author of My Unsentimental Education
 

“In the excellent essays of Delusions of Grandeur, Joey Franklin perfects, ages, then, cures, perhaps, the genre’s full extension and expression, engineering whole new worried and weathered precincts of prose genius. Here, the maturation of the micro-memoir. Here, the fine calculus of the personal essay. Here, the literal reinvention of literary journalism. These big-shouldered essays are riveting, I-beams bolted and bolting, hither and yon, spot lit and spot on.”—Michael Martone, author of The Moon Over Wapakoneta and Brooding
 
 

“Joey Franklin dives into difficult topics—poverty and wealth, masculinity, race, whiteness, privilege, parenting, linguistic and regional bias, and what it means to be and do good in the world—with thoughtful grace. This book is a Montaignian mash-up relevant for twenty-first century readers, each essay braided with equal parts fascinating research and deep vulnerability, an admirable union of brain and heart.”—Sonya Huber, author of Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System
 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 
Delusions of Grandeur: An Introduction 
Toy Soldiers 
Girl Fight 
Good Enough 
Stuck 
White Trash 
Not in My Backyard 
Thursday Night Lights 
The Full Montaigne 
Worry Lines 
Apocalypse, Now? 
A Note on Notes 
Notes

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