david foster wallace: classic or dud

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so, genius or rambling fool? is infinite jest just far too long? etc etc.

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

OH MY GOD why genius of course!

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i wondered when we'd get this one;)

Infinite Jest isn't bad, but it doesn't go anywhere really. Girl With Curious Hair is in turns, irritating (that last story is excruciating) and really good, mixed bag in all i guess. but DFW is definitely the most 2dimensional writer evah (not necessarily a bad thing)

gareth, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

well yes i think so too. although infinite jest is too long, and he talks crap about maths sometimes.

i'll write more about this when i don't have to go to a seminar. meanwhile i thought this was an amusing review/parody:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3964999,00.html

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

but, thinking about it, dud because now i have read Infinite Jest and declared it to be the best thing EVAH, all other books seem pale by comparison. have just been recommended A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius and noticed that in the recommendatory blurb on the back some critic had called it a "finite work of jest" or something, so i thought ooh that sounds promising, and i do not think i am getting it. the book and prose style do not GRIP me, whereas i think i have been spoiled by DFW's prose that is so silky smooth and luxurious yet at the same time playful it's like being in a big bubble bath. mmmm. with DFW it doesn't even matter that i have no maths degree and cannot work out the Eschaton equations, because the game itself is just so damn comical!

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

more to the point i'd say classic for brief interviews... and a supposedly interesting thing... on their own.

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"Goes nowhere"?

Josh, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Genius, of course. Infinite Jest is like my favourite book evah!

RickyT, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

'Two dimensional'?

RickyT, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

just read that article.

Leave aside the question of whether the ease w/which he can be pastiched is a good or a bad sign.

thought it read like a slightly more literate Bridget Jones to tell you the truth.

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

hmmm, but the problem is that if you do have a maths degree (and doesn't dfw?) the maths stuff in IJ is just rubbish. i really enjoyed immersing myself in the prose style and whatever, but at the end of the day as gareth says it just doesn't go anywhere.

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

oh god, now i have to bloody read the thing. a mint hardback has been on my shelf haunting me since the bastard came out. (and yes i do mean literally made of mint, hardy har har)

Alan Trewartha, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

it goes all the way around in a big big circle, like all great romantic literature.

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Isn't the maths stuff in IJ supposed to be rubbish, at least that bit where Pemulis is doing the eschaton calculations.

RickyT, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

he has three names = his books are poo

mark s, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

(now THAT'S what i call maths)

mark s m.a. oxon, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i'd say that IJ goes round in a pretty small circle.

i imagine that "a slightly more literate Bridget Jones" is a criticism quite a few people would make of dfw's style...

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

not me.

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

well, the maths in the tennis essay in a supposedly fun thing... is rubbish too. and i'm pretty sure that's not supposed to be.

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

As a Pynchon-enthusiast I got lots of recommendations to read DFW. I've now read The Broom of the System, some scattered short stories and Brief Interviews with Hideous Me and doubt I will continue further. Found the prose style unremarkable, often irritating, philosophical meta-wrestling without verve or pizzazz. He seems an author designed by a committee for those who like Pynchon *for the wrong reasons* (ie graduate students). His essay on tv and irony is particularly self-important windbaggery. Meh!

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Brief Interviews with Hideous Me will by my new book! :)

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

nor me. but quite a few people would, i think.

anyway, to answer the question properly, i'd say classic for two reasons:

i) his prose style, which captures the way people talk/think more accurately than any other author i can think of. though i'm never sure these days whether my emails read like a crap version of dfw because i'm nicking his style or because his style is based on the way that people ramble on.

ii) his attmepts to address the difficulties with really communicating on an honest level with other people, whether this be between author/reader (as in one of those pop quizzes in brief interviews) or psycho/victim (one of the hideous interviews) or

umm, i really do have to go to a seminar now. i'll expand on this later.

toby, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

but haf you evah been pointed to someone — on grounds "you like pynchon, you'll love [z]" — and actually even slightly liked em? (There was another three-name fella in the 80s, wrote a rubbisHoR book abt Halley's Comet, who = even worse than DFW...)

mark s, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

yes. Don DeLillo's white noise. this was a "if you like GR/Lot 49 you'll like..." recommendations. it is a good book.

Alan Trewartha, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

it's ok: overrated tho

mark s, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

New Pynchons are a bit like New Dylans. Here are some I have known and loved:

1) Don DeLillo (back in the day I heard rumours that he WAS Pynchon, similar to ye olde Salinger rumour)

2) Steve Erickson (underappreciated fantasist - see ILM thread on his top 100 LA songs)

3) George Saunders (maybe more of a Barthelmian miniaturist, but TRP wrote blurbs for CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia)

Those I have loathed: DFW, William T. Vollmann, many more...

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I looked at the books this morning, thought about it, and dismissed them as far too long, and plumped for the Brautigan instead. Which irritated me intensely. Should I have gone for the DFW? Mind you, I can't seem to get through a Pynchon novel longer than Crying Of Lot 49. Yep, there's me outed as a poseur. I'll get me coat.

kate, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i think toby's right about the prose mimicking the way people think v. accurately. i also think i am kind of bound to love him because he treats literary theory like an old unreliable friend - he loves it to bits, but takes it with a pinch of salt and isn't afraid to tell it exactly what he thinks of it should the occasion arise. that's how i'd like to treat it but i don't have the confidence.

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

For a book i initially thought was huge ij was way too short! I was getting to the end wishing for hundreds more pages.

none of his other books have had the same effect on me, though i enjoyed 'the broom of the system' and 'supposedly fun things...'.

i was disappointed by 'a heartbreaking work...' too. i think because i expected something more like infinite jest. I've never been able to read 'gravity's rainbow' past the first 150 pages or so. is there a 'pynchon for beginners' i should read first?

liz, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

'....'

Will, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

The Crying of Lot 49 is the obvious "Pynchon for beginners" choice merely because it is so short - if you can get to page 150 of GR then there shouldn't be a problem with that! ooh i want to go and re-read it now!

katie, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Donald Antrim sometimes pops up in the new pynchons arena, one blurb said 'pynchon on lithium'. so that might satisfy Mark S criteria 9as i am big fan of Antrim), but i don't think he is anything like Pynchon myself, he is different again.

gareth, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

IJ is immensely powerful, & has a real payoff. Girl With The Curious Hair showed promise (& all the weird lit-scratching he did in the Irony essay tied into some decent concept stories). Reading IJ for wrong reasons = reading for plot gimick and puzzles rather than emotion. Broom never connected, and what little i've read of his post IJ stuff confirms to me that he had one thing to say, he said it long and well, and now he's just pushing the schtick to keep up the cash flow.

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

classic, though i can see the smacking-of-pretension angle. i agree with toby's first point; more than any author i can think of, he reflects how i think/talk in my head- fluid prose with a poor grasp of linearity. for me, this overwhelms the mostly-bogus math/Wittgenstein asides...

of course, i like delillo a lot while finding pynchon overrated, so my opinion's probably shit anyways.

dave k, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

*sticks finger down throat*

I used to be able to just breeze by the subject of DFW, without care, capriciously, even. Having to deal with a bad imitation of DFW for a while made me want to MURDER the man though. Argh. But don't listen to me, I'm illiterate.

Ally, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I've never heard of him. jel = in admitting ignorance mood.

james, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I liked his couple of pieces for Premiere, but That There Big Book itself currently sits unread on my shelves and may do so for a long while...

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

did anybody else find the DeLillo piece in the new Harper's a little underwhelming?

Haven't read any big DFW books. Liked "A supposedly fun thing" a lot, especially the cruise ship bit. Hated his article on proper usage & language in Harper's. Weirdest thing about him is his first book, Signifying Rappers. It's so bad.

fritz, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Fool , annoying fool, last time i checked footnotes for the sake of having footnotes was silly. High up on himself. Arrogant . However i have not read infinte jest so i may be wrong.

anthony, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah, Anthony, you are in fact wrong. :)

Personally: lately I've been finding his essays far more enlightening than his literature. The McCain item, to an extent, but more particularly the David Lynch article from A Supposedly Fun Thing... and the grammar/usage article from Harpers, which was, if not informative to me personally, a really enjoyable analysis.

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I have read brief interviews w. hideous men and i found it the most viruently self indulgent peice of hack work . I read the article on the AVS Awards and it piled every cliche about vegas and porn and compared to the 10 pages of Microserfs it was hollow. I am worried about IJ but the article on proper usage sounds intruging. As well is a Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again a book of essays. More often then not i have found essays alot less annoying.

anthony, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Girl with Curious Hair, Broom, Brief Interviews all terrible without exception, though each in its different ways. Lynch essay in A Supposedly Fun Thing... offers a couple of insights, the rest of the collection irritates. Wallace speaks for some kind of new man, whose speech patterns, habits, and insecurities he accentuates to cartoonish degree in his characters and through his style. Infinite Jest does a good job of highlighting this new man's plight, and it's worth reading (and not worth reading) for the reason Clover asserts. But the new man Wallace speaks for is patently unhealthy, this new man is a disease.

Wheeler, Wednesday, 21 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

He's allright, well at least I liked I.J. esp. the stuff on tennis, the zone and dope. You have to read it on a holiday otherwise I doubt it can be finished. Don't have a strong urge to check his other novels though. I sorta liked the essay on Lynch, but 'Signifying Rappers' is rubbish, that's where his "look-at-my-very-long-sentences- with-Greek-words" approach really starts to irritate.

Omar, Thursday, 22 November 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
This explains everything.

Ally (mlescaut), Thursday, 20 February 2003 19:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Odd thing about DFW: he is GREAT to read out loud (and in fact most of the title pieces in _Brief Interviews..._ practically only make sense out loud--he has such a command of the rhythms of speech that it looks bizarre on the page).

Of the not-yet-in-book-form material, I'm very fond of "Up, Simba!" and the grammar/usage piece in Harper's. His recent short stories have mostly been "experimental" in the sense of trying to get away from his comfortable subjects and trying to eliminate his tics while maintaining his style. A lot of them end up collapsing at one point or another ("Adult World," in particular, is a very ambitious near-total misfire).

But for verbal glory plus neatly masked high moral seriousness, there's nobody anywhere near him writing right now in English, I think.

Douglas (Douglas), Thursday, 20 February 2003 20:02 (sixteen years ago) link

I usually like him, but that grammar piece I hate, and I get annoyed too at the "Calculus was for me, quite literally, child's play" math shit. Oh and his rap stuff: HA!!

Dan I., Thursday, 20 February 2003 20:21 (sixteen years ago) link

IJ, or the few hundred pages I was able to make it through, was an unfunny and tedious dud; but most of Brief Interviews, much of A Supposedly Fun Thing (esp. the last essay), and some of the Curious Hair stories are classic. Toby's comments/paradox about rambling, above, is OTM.

Chris P (Chris P), Thursday, 20 February 2003 20:41 (sixteen years ago) link

"There was the letter where he explained how he now wants to be called 'Dave' and included a page-long description of every single 'Dave' and 'David' he's ever known in his entire life."

DFW = Bruce McCulloch?

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 20 February 2003 20:55 (sixteen years ago) link

I really liked Broom, so will get round to IJ sometime.

I am tempted to say that I like all of the new Pynchons better than the old Pynchon, but it's not true.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 20 February 2003 20:58 (sixteen years ago) link

toby's OTM.

DFW is classic. I loved IJ, Brief Interviews was... meh, A Supposedly Fun Thing was good, and I really like all the stories from Girl with Curious Hair.

I could care less about the pretentiousness/ego/wunderkind/pynchon rip off criticisms of him. It's great stuff to read.

cprek (cprek), Thursday, 20 February 2003 21:06 (sixteen years ago) link

characters without copious copulation experience need not apply

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 3 February 2016 19:56 (three years ago) link

sexual interfacing

j., Wednesday, 3 February 2016 20:17 (three years ago) link

seven months pass...

This is devastating, from Good Old Neon

Good Old Neon
The truth is you already know what it’s like. You already know the difference between the size and speed of everything that flashes through you and the tiny inadequate bit of it all you can ever let anyone know. As though inside you is this enormous room full of what seems like everything in the whole universe at one time or another and yet the only parts that get out have to somehow squeeze out through one of those tiny keyholes you see under the knob in older doors. As if we are all trying to see each other through these tiny keyholes.

But it does have a knob, the door can open… That is what makes room for the universes inside you, all the endless inbent fractals of connection and symphonies of different voices, the infinities you can never show another soul. And you think it makes you a fraud, the tiny fraction anyone else ever sees? Of course you’re a fraud, of course what people see is never you. And of course you know this, and of course you try to manage what part they see, who wouldn’t? It’s called free will, Sherlock. But at the same time it’s why it feels so good to break down and cry in front of others, or to laugh, or speak in tongues, or chant in Bengali–it’s not English anymore, it’s not getting squeezed through any hole.

So cry all you want, I won’t tell anybody.

Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Monday, 12 September 2016 03:46 (three years ago) link

This is actually the anniversary of his death which I had no idea about when I posted that. That's weird.

Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Monday, 12 September 2016 04:04 (three years ago) link

weird, i finished infinite jest tonight after trying for 8 years, many false starts. this is a strange bump

flappy bird, Monday, 12 September 2016 04:58 (three years ago) link

that's a beautiful passage

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 12 September 2016 05:07 (three years ago) link

that really is quite nice, isn't it?

this:

That is what makes room for the universes inside you, all the endless inbent fractals of connection and symphonies of different voices, the infinities you can never show another soul. And you think it makes you a fraud, the tiny fraction anyone else ever sees? Of course you’re a fraud, of course what people see is never you. And of course you know this, and of course you try to manage what part they see, who wouldn’t? It’s called free will, Sherlock.

is actually very similar to what schopenhaur said:

We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.

that i believe dfw's quote was actually his reaction to reading schopenhauer

F♯ A♯ (∞), Monday, 12 September 2016 18:49 (three years ago) link

https://www.quora.com/What-was-it-like-to-have-David-Foster-Wallace-as-a-teacher

from his class syllabus:

Anybody gets to ask questions about any fiction-related issues she wants. No question about literature is stupid. You are forbidden to keep yourself from asking a question or making a comment because you fear it will sound obvious or unsophisticated or lame or stupid. Because critical reading and prose fiction are such hard, weird things to try to study, a stupid-seeming comment or question can end up being valuable or even profound. I am deadly-serious about creating a classroom environment where everyone feels free to ask or speak about anything she wishes. So any student who groans, smirks, mimes machines-gunning or onanism, chortles, eye-rolls, or in any way ridicules some other student's in-class question/comment will be warned once in private and on the second offense will be kicked out of class and flunked, no matter what week it is. If the offender is male, I am also apt to find him off-campus and beat him up.

F♯ A♯ (∞), Monday, 12 September 2016 23:31 (three years ago) link

<3

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 13 September 2016 11:23 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

sadly likely to earn a visit to the dean's office these days based on anonymous butthurt rats

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Tuesday, 22 November 2016 19:59 (two years ago) link

expand on that

flappy bird, Tuesday, 22 November 2016 20:02 (two years ago) link

(Aimless groans, smirks, mimes onanism, chortles, & eye-rolls)

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 November 2016 20:05 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

The beginning of this thread makes me nostalgic for the days when Wallace was just a fiction writer among many, one you could like or dislike without there being any cultural weight attached to which it was

I guess we'll get back to that in 10 more years

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 29 January 2018 04:39 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

I saw a good 'used' (but unread) copy of Infinite Jest for $3 today at my favorite charity bookshop. I picked it up, thumbed through a few pages and realized I had no interest in re-reading it.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 5 May 2018 22:36 (one year ago) link

You write that Infinite Jest was motivated by his “dysfunctional yearning for Mary Karr.” How did she influence his drive to write the book?

What I meant by that was that he was trying to impress her. He really wants her to think he’s doing wonderful work, and I think when she, at various times, breaks up with him, he’s thrown into those negative spirals that can also be enormously productive for a person, a creative spiral of anger. Almost like something out of a Hollywood movie. There’s a note in one of my files where he says something like, “Infinite Jest was just a means to Mary Karr’s end, as it were.” A sexual pun.

Oh fuck those guys. Both Wallace and Max.

That pun is such bullshit, Wallace is such bullshit, the continuous praise is even worse.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 5 May 2018 22:47 (one year ago) link

celebrated artist is problematic case #4882567386

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Saturday, 5 May 2018 22:51 (one year ago) link

i wonder what style of movie karr felt like dfw's behaviour belonged in

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 5 May 2018 22:53 (one year ago) link

I read Infinite Jest a few years ago, aware of DFW’s rep and place as an unfortunate and un-asked-for figurehead of a kind of Lit Bro mentality but... still found it pretty fucking good. Couldn’t put it down. Still think about it a lot.

I don’t really know how to talk about him now.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Saturday, 5 May 2018 23:05 (one year ago) link

Or even then.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Saturday, 5 May 2018 23:07 (one year ago) link

oh, are we doing cadaver synods now?

i don't know how to talk about him either. if there are still intellectual white dudes out there still saying "dude you should read DFW he's the BEST WRITER EVER" yeah i'll be glad to laugh in their faces. i read his book, like, twenty years or so ago, i liked it a lot. it influenced me. that's not something i can undo. i used to like bill hicks, too. they're dead now, and the work they did when they were alive is very much of a time and a place. we can point out that they were monsters, or we can talk about how they were "problematic", or we can let time render them irrelevant, which it's doing a very good job of.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 23:16 (one year ago) link

ive just reread most of the tennis essays, first time in years & i appreciate them much more now, so great

johnny crunch, Saturday, 5 May 2018 23:33 (one year ago) link

the old "write about what you know" adage proves out once more

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 6 May 2018 00:35 (one year ago) link

infinite jest is great, annoying lit bro debris & saint/martyr status aside.

flappy bird, Sunday, 6 May 2018 01:46 (one year ago) link

It's half great

albvivertine, Sunday, 6 May 2018 02:07 (one year ago) link

Actually no, the tennis/alcoholism stuff is largely fantastic. But good God is the sci-fi framework awful.

albvivertine, Sunday, 6 May 2018 02:10 (one year ago) link

I wouldn’t say it’s awful but def the weakest element of the book.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Sunday, 6 May 2018 02:32 (one year ago) link

The drug/alcohol and tennis school stuff (lol at having these things together) is just so well drawn though. Anything outside of it is bound to look weak in comparison. The avant-grade film stuff and filmography is very clever too though.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Sunday, 6 May 2018 02:35 (one year ago) link

I didn't find the near dystopian future setting half baked or that imposing, almost all of it is on the periphery of the main action in the book at the school and the halfway house. all the stuff about addiction and AA is the core, the heart music of infinite jest

flappy bird, Sunday, 6 May 2018 04:08 (one year ago) link

the Quebecois separatists were pretty dreadful

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 6 May 2018 04:10 (one year ago) link

yeah they are the most boring part of the book by far imo

flappy bird, Sunday, 6 May 2018 04:15 (one year ago) link

...all the stuff about addiction and AA is the core, the heart music of infinite jest


OTM. the first time I read it I found the AA scene dull and pointless... the second time I read it it felt like the most important scene in the entire book.

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Sunday, 6 May 2018 04:29 (one year ago) link

one cool & interesting bit of trivia from the D.T. Max bio: the only music DFW listened to while writing Infinite Jest was Nirvana and Enya.

flappy bird, Sunday, 6 May 2018 06:45 (one year ago) link

jeez, he never shopped for groceries?

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 6 May 2018 16:25 (one year ago) link

New Pynchons are a bit like New Dylans. Here are some I have known and loved:
1) Don DeLillo (back in the day I heard rumours that he WAS Pynchon, similar to ye olde Salinger rumour)

2) Steve Erickson (underappreciated fantasist - see ILM thread on his top 100 LA songs)

3) George Saunders (maybe more of a Barthelmian miniaturist, but TRP wrote blurbs for CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia)

Those I have loathed: DFW, William T. Vollmann, many more...

― Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Tuesday, November 20, 2001 8:00 PM (sixteen years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 6 May 2018 16:38 (one year ago) link

the Quebecois separatists were pretty dreadful

― A is for (Aimless), Saturday, May 5, 2018 11:10 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah they are the most boring part of the book by far imo

― flappy bird, Saturday, May 5, 2018 11:15 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There was a big block of this in the book, it was the one point where I said "god, fuck this" and skipped/skimmed a few pages.

The Harsh Tutelage of Michael McDonald (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 6 May 2018 16:45 (one year ago) link

Not the desert-on-a-rise stuff, mind - which I liked. I feel like it was something in a Canadian downtown? It's been a while since I read it.

The Harsh Tutelage of Michael McDonald (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 6 May 2018 16:46 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

hah, just went for a run and saw a tall dude with long dark hair and a white bandana playing tennis.

daily growing, Wednesday, 25 July 2018 15:27 (one year ago) link

Shoulda said hi

devops mom (silby), Wednesday, 25 July 2018 15:30 (one year ago) link

Hi dave hows the writing coming along

F# A# (∞), Wednesday, 25 July 2018 15:41 (one year ago) link

indeed, thx

niels, Monday, 30 July 2018 16:45 (one year ago) link

The space in which it matters that DFW was an abuser of women is the space of ordinary reality, which we all occupy. This makes it a serious charge, that must be dealt with by real people doing whatever is possible to mitigate the harm done through his abuse. One mitigation is to identify him as an abuser and publically decry that fact and condemn his actions.

As for his books, the thing about writing in general is that no matter how 'realistic' it aspires to be, it occupies its own unreal space that only exists in the mind of the audience as the it plays out. Within that mental space, the author and audience cannot either create or repair real life abuses and it is hopeless to try to do so through direct action against his books, such as denouncing them as the work of a real life abuser. You can only deal with them effectively by thinking about them as clearly as possible.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 30 July 2018 18:09 (one year ago) link

part of argument in the outline article is that this distinction is particularly difficult to make in DFW's case, though

The question is thornier with Wallace than it would be for most of his contemporaries. Plenty of people love the novels of Jeffrey Eugenides — but how many of them love Jeffrey Eugenides? Wallace’s work overflows with complex and vibrant characters, but of these the most enduring — the only one to transcend his writing, a la Holden Caufield or Jay Gatsby, to become a pop culture figure in their own right — is Wallace himself, the “Wallace” of his first-person essays and reviews.

This Wallace was self-aware, morally engaged, alert to hypocrisy (especially his own), and deliriously funny. You felt like you knew him, even if you knew, and knew he knew, that it was all on some level a ruse, that the ‘I’ on the page was always an invention. There are other reasons for his fandom’s intensity — Infinite Jest’s sprawl has made it the rare literary novel able to generate and sustain genre-style online communities — but it’s the voice that brings his fans two hours south of Chicago to the town of Normal, Illinois, from multiple continents and both U.S. coasts, paying anywhere from $40 (for students/part-time workers) to $150 (for teachers/full-time workers) to get in.

soref, Monday, 30 July 2018 18:15 (one year ago) link

Authors understand very well that the "I" in any well-constructed book is as much of a construction as any other part of their writing.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 30 July 2018 18:27 (one year ago) link

It's the audience that gets confused about what that "I" is.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 30 July 2018 18:28 (one year ago) link

you are, unfortunately, a deceased fiction writer

difficult listening hour, Monday, 30 July 2018 18:29 (one year ago) link

but how many of them love Jeffrey Eugenides

tough of ol jeff

j., Monday, 30 July 2018 18:35 (one year ago) link

on*

j., Monday, 30 July 2018 18:36 (one year ago) link

whoever is updating Jeffrey Eugenides' wiki page apparently does not love Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Kent Eugenides (born March 8, 1960) is an American novelist, nonce and short story writer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Eugenides

soref, Monday, 30 July 2018 18:42 (one year ago) link


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