If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to be a cataloger of an author’s work, much less David Foster Wallace’s final book, you may want to give Jenn Shapland’s gorgeous essay, “The Human Heart is a Chump: Cataloging The Pale King” a going over....more
Posts Tagged: David Foster Wallace
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....more
The Millions allows readers the opening paragraphs of DT Max’s David Foster Wallace biography:
“The Wallaces ate at 5:45 p.m. Afterward, Jim Wallace would read stories to Amy and David. And then every night the children would get fifteen minutes each in their beds to talk to Sally about anything that was on their minds....more
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
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
Essayist John D’Agata and fact-checker Jim Fingal co-wrote a book called The Lifespan of a Fact. I have read every review about the book since. It seems that Lifespan isn’t being reviewed, but instead a status quo is being swiftly and aggressively defended....more
John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead should be hailed not simply as a fabulous piece of writing but as a landmark debut of a new genre, invented by others but perfected here....more
Edouard Levé’s Suicide, a slim, declarative, idea-driven novel, is daring and raw, and packed full of rewards for any reader willing to take a wide step outside of the American mainstream....more
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
There are many ways to appreciate the work of David Foster Wallace.
Michael Schur, the man who co-created the tv show, “Parks and Rec,” is reproducing a scene from Infinite Jest in music-video form. Schur’s directorial debut is the coexistence of both his favorite band (the Decemberists) and the novel that most profoundly altered his mind....more
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
“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
In September 2008, David Foster Wallace stepped out onto his patio and did what most of us occasionally imagine doing, but hopefully never go through with....more
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
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
“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
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