Posts Tagged: David Foster Wallace

Improve your prose with Math

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Alright fiction writers, put down your pens for a moment and let’s talk math.

If you recoil when hearing the “M-word” or brace your index fingers into a cross at the sight of algebra or calculus books—you’re not alone. But according to Alex Nazaryan’s article, “Why Writers Should Learn Math,” writers  could improve their prose by embracing math instead of cowering from it.  

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David Foster Wallace Was A Comedy Nerd

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Blythe Robertson unpacks David Foster Wallace’s thoughts, and impacts, on American comedy for Splitsider.

Wallace often worried about the overwhelming amount of irony on television – talking heads poking fun at those watching the show while viewers laugh along at themselves, neither party doing much to fix their apparent boredom with the shallowness of the medium.

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A Virtual Tour Of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

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Attention All David Foster Wallace Fans,

Writer William Beutler is compiling real life Boston, MA locations featured in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest:

“About each I will write some 300–500 words, endeavoring to say something interesting about the role a given location plays in the story, how it appears in the present day, and what it was like to visit.

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On “Proper” English and Objective Legislation

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It’s no secret that English is a constantly shifting, malleable, many-headed beast of a language, yet, much of the time, writers and speakers insist emphatically on obeying its many ostensibly rigid rules.

At The New York Times, linguist John McWhorter writes about the myth of “proper” English:

“We are taught that a proper language makes perfect logical sense, and that allowing changes willy-nilly threatens chaos.”

In the article, McWhorter argues that changes in the English language are akin to shifts in fashion: they have real, tangible effects, but should not be used in any way to infer the “intelligence or moral worth” of a speaker or writer.

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The DFW-Franzen Saga

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In this Awl piece, Michelle Dean weighs in on Jonathan Franzen’s declaration that David Foster Wallace “fabricated at least part of—and potentially a large part of—his nonfiction pieces.” The article looks back at Wallace’s statements about his nonfiction, and discusses both “the Franzen paradox” and the dynamics of the “Wallace-Franzen friendship.”

“In a faint echo of the (frequently too academic) debate about the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, the question of whether or not either of these statements are empirically true, as descriptions of Wallace, strikes me as beside the point.

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Maud Newton on a DFW-Inspired Trend

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Maud Newton’s NY Times essay, “Another Thing to Sort of Pin on David Foster Wallace,” discusses yet another DFW-inspired trend–that is his “slangy approachability.”

He defined a writing style that has permeated through the blogosphere. His ability to combine legal diction with colloquialisms and “slacker lingo,” all to express one highly philosophical argument was indeed a DFW idiosyncrasy—one being reproduced by “a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument.” Newton writes on the evolution of this trend and what has become of irony.

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Boredom as Religious Experience: David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King

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Reviewing The Pale King is a difficult process, for a number of reasons. The most obvious of which include that it is a last novel (though we wish it weren’t) whose author isn’t alive to see its publication (though we wish that weren’t true) and it is an unfinished novel, whose author’s own intended shape is unknown. ...more

Posthumous DFW

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“He left us this book—the people closest to him agree that he wanted us to see it. This is not, in other words, a classic case of Posthumous Great Novel, where scholars have gone into an estate and unearthed a manuscript the author would probably never want read.

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Who Do You Write Like?

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You read last week in The Rumpus about the new “statistical analysis tool” that tells you who you write like. Coding Robots, a group of software developers, seemingly created I Write Like just for fun; the page analyzes your word choice and writing style and spits back a writer it compares you to (out of a list of 50 writers, according to Dmitry Chestnykh in his interview with The Awl).

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The Rumpus Books Sunday Supplement

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It was yet another awesome week for Rumpus Books. Click through for links to reviews, rants, interviews, and more.

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