Eric Larsen joined the John Jay English Department in 1971 and remained there until his retirement in early 2006. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Larsen published stories and essays in quarterlies and national magazines, and in 1988 he published An American Memory, winner of the Chicago Tribune’s first $5000 Heartland Prize as the year’s best novel of or about the middle west. In 1992, I Am Zoë Handke followed, and in 2008 The End of the 19th Century came out under the imprint of The Progressive Press. It will be followed by The Decline & Fall of the American Nation, the four novels to comprise a tetralogy that will also be called An American Memory. Throughout his career, Larsen has been an observer of literary and political culture, and in 2006 he published A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit, a book that examines, and often laments, many of the recent changes in them.