One Man Zeitgeist: Dave Eggers, Publishing and Publicity undertakes the first extensive analysis of the works of Dave Eggers, an author who has grown from a small-time media upstart into one of the most influential author-publishers of the twenty-first century. Eggers' rise to fame is charted in careful detail, offering analysis of the circumstances of his success and their effects on the production of his literary oeuvre. As both a memoirist and novelist Eggers has distinguished himself from his cohort of young American authors by insisting on seizing the reins of his publishing output. The nature of this independent streak is given attention in this study, particularly the cultural circumstances of a digitalised, consumer society in which books and literature are primarily commodities. Hamilton examines this spirit of independence as both a practical and figurative state in Eggers' works, and seeks to address the reasons why in a contemporary, globalised society independence is not only personally gratifying for Eggers but also a popularly successful strategy for producing books.
A gorgeous three-dimensional map of Dave Eggers' career to date. Hamilton's fun-to-read, lively prose sketches Eggers' uneasy relation to the publishing and publicity industries, his paradoxical philanthropy, and his bold experiments with voice. Here and there, she tactfully introduces illuminating snippets from cultural critics, but the real highlights of this analysis are the many original provocations that pepper One Man Zeitgeist. In Hamilton's capable hands, Eggers' career gives readers a window into the literary preoccupations of the rapidly graying Generation X. Throughout her discussion, Hamilton smartly diagnoses the prospects of that much-maligned generation's quest for an alternative media culture.--Caren Irr, Associate Professor of English and American Literature, Brandeis University, USA