Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Sonstegard, Adam

Subject Headings

Eggers, Dave -- Biography, Eggers, Dave, Heartbreaking work of a staggering genius -- Criticism and interpretation


The genre of the American memoir has been altered through the centuries since Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. By the twentieth century one of the strongest influential elements has become the simulation of reality. In a memoir as much as an autobiographer reveals about society, also social demands or cultural transactions influence the author as he writes. Modern society has replaced reality and meaning with symbols and signs. With other words simulation seems to be a part of social demand. As Jean Baudrillard explains it our perception is entangled in prepackaged media perspectives. When Dave Eggers writes his autobiography he attempts to satisfy the demand of the age. He creates written signs of resemblance between himself and society. In A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius Eggers, a verbal artist wants to broadcast a version of reality by mixing true and false, real and fantasy. He produces a simulation of a representative of his generation in order to exchange his traumatic experience for sympathy, psychological healing and popularity. With his verbal simulations of being a representative his pretending interest in other people's life, and even reproducing of his real life events, he reflects Baudrillard's theories of simulation in a written work