Posts Tagged: David Foster Wallace

Don’t (Blurb) Speak

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Wallace coined the helpful term “blurbspeak,” which he defined as “a very special subdialect of English that’s partly hyperbole, but it’s also phrases that sound really good and are very compelling in an advertorial sense, but if you think about them, they’re literally meaningless.”

Though David Foster Wallace was somewhat skeptical about book blurbs, he wasn’t unlikely to recommend books himself from time to time.

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Joshua Cohen by Beowulf Sheehan

The Rumpus Interview with Joshua Cohen

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Novelist Joshua Cohen gives an interview, digital, about his new novel, paper, but also digital, about the Internet, digital, subsuming the novel, even his novel, best on paper, Book of Numbers. ...more

Figure Drawing, Or, The Posthumous Persona Of David Foster Wallace

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On the eve of a new biopic and on the long tail of posthumous publishing and popularization—Christian Lorentzen takes a long, compassionate, critical look at David Foster Wallace and on the ways in which a prolific writer gets written into the public memory—as intellectual behemoth, creative luminary, contemptuous snob, major depressive, motivational speaker:

A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.

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Crutchfield Headshot

The Rumpus Interview with Christy Crutchfield

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Novelist Christy Crutchfield talks about her debut, How to Catch a Coyote, world building, inspiration, icky fiction, the role of mystery, and the marathon of novel writing ...more

Sean Wilsey_credit Susan Simmons

The Rumpus Interview with Sean Wilsey

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Sean Wilsey discusses his latest book of essays, More Curious, being David Foster Wallace’s neighbor, the healing power of the American road trip, and the difference between writing fiction and memoir. ...more

Word of the Day: Quiddity

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(n.); the essence or inherent nature of a person or thing; an eccentricity; an odd feature; a trifle, nicety or quibble; from the Latin quid (“what”)

“He was friendly, polite, and deeply interested in even the fine points I raised, and to my astonishment accepted a number of my changes, later saying that he had learned a lot in the process.

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Irony Genius Vs. Realism Hero

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If Franzen is our genius realist, and DFW our genius postmodernist — how might they meld irony and sincerity?

In an excerpt over at Salon from his new book, Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson talks irony, realism, postmodernism, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen.

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on the way, split, front, take 02

The Rumpus Interview with David Shields and Caleb Powell

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Writers David Shields and Caleb Powell can't stop fighting, even about their new book-length argument and forthcoming film, I Think You're Totally Wrong. ...more

This Incredible Writer and Thinker and Person

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For The Millions, Jonathan Russell Clark covers Little Brown’s new The David Foster Wallace Reader, touching upon what he calls the writer’s “metanonfiction.” He also discusses, among other things, his hopes for the volume:

… if this “Reader” accomplishes anything, it would be wonderful if some new Wallace fans emerged from its publication.

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Gotta Serve Somebody

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In an excerpt from his recently released book Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas, Adam Kirsch positions David Foster Wallace as a quintessentially American writer: self-conscious and ironic, but at the same time frenzied, earnest, and above all contradictory:

A clue to the answer can be found in a question Wallace asked in “Infinite Jest:” “Why is the truth usually not just un- but anti-interesting?” In that excessively interesting book, the interesting is always suspect.

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Excavated Heartbreaking Interview with David Foster Wallace

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I didn’t really understand emotionally that there are people around who didn’t have enough to eat, who weren’t warm enough, who didn’t have a place to live, whose parents beat the hell out of them regularly. The sadness isn’t in seeing it, the sadness is in realizing how phenomenally lucky I am, not only to have never been hungry or cold, but to be educated, to have access to books.

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Word of the Day: Recrudescence

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(n.) breaking out afresh or into renewed activity; from the Latin recrudescere (“to become raw again”)

The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about … this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

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Public (Image) Domain

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What happens when the reproduction rights of literary works and an author’s public image are taken out of their owner’s control, but without any law infringement?

Over at the Paris Review, Evan Kindley tries to find out. He compares the case of the upcoming David Foster Wallace movie, adapted from David Lipsky’s memoir Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, to what happened to James Joyce when Ulysses was reprinted by another author in the U.S., where the book wasn’t under copyright.

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The Evils of Irony

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At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy.

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The Cliché of Leadership

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Think about it. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with ‘inspire’ being used here in a serious and non-cliché way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own.

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Grammar Master David Foster Wallace

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The interview was a byproduct of an article Wallace started in the late nineties on the grammar wars. Most writers think of grammar as uninteresting, the machine code of literature, but Wallace loved it for many reasons—because his mother did; because it was full of rules, and limits gave him pleasure; and because his mastery of the subject reminded everyone how smart he was.

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