Posts Tagged: David Foster Wallace

A Virtual Tour Of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

By

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.

...more

On “Proper” English and Objective Legislation

By

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.

...more

The DFW-Franzen Saga

By

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.

...more

Maud Newton on a DFW-Inspired Trend

By

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.

...more

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

By

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

By

“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.

...more

Who Do You Write Like?

By

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).

...more

The Rumpus Books Sunday Supplement

By

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

...more

A FAN’S NOTES, The Rumpus Sports Column #25: The Angelic Name

By

In 1994, David Foster Wallace published an essay about the difficult-to-pin-down pleasure of watching great athletes during their most intense moments of competition. The essay, “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart,” looks simple on the surface: it is “unaccompanied,” by which I mean there are no numbered footnotes, no preambles, no subtitles and no flow charts framing or attached to the text.

...more

We’re All Poets Now?

By

“I think avant-garde fiction has already gone the way of poetry. And it’s become involuted and forgotten the reader. Put it this way, there are a few really good poets who suffered because of the desiccation and involution of poetry, but for the most part I think American poetry has gotten what it’s deserved.

...more

The Sunday Rumpus Book Blog Roundup

By

My relationship with the book blogs has hit a snag. Today, we got in a throw-down fight, and I came pretty close to breaking some china.

It’s just that the blogs whine and worry and complain a lot, and they always seem to want to cheat on me with famous writers, like Martin Amis or David Foster Wallace or Marquis de Sade, and then it rubs off on me, and I end up whining and worrying and complaining more than they do, and then I stop liking myself.

...more