As a writer who grew up in the working class in Queens, I enjoyed William Deresiewicz's essay (Winter 2006) about the seeming disappearance of the working class. For a Yale professor who writes about Jane Austen, he has got it mostly right: Their "limited possibilities" do shape and inform all aspects of working-class life. If the American elite have stopped noticing working stiffs, as Deresiewicz contends, it probably has as much to do with the consumer culture's obsession with demographics as anything else. It's not chic to care about the working class, especially in the present Gilded Age. Deresiewicz notes that Richard Russo and Russell Banks write with sympathy about workers. I would add Joyce Carol Oates and Richard Price among many other authors whose work is often overlooked--probably because it is about the working class.
William Deresiewicz describes himself as being "enraged" 10 years ago by the realization that his "abysmal ignorance"...