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francesco
23-03-2005, 09:37 AM
http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0297645676.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

I'm enjoing reading Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, it's the first Wallace book I ever read. Where to go next with his ouvre? Comments, critic, suggestions?

woops
23-03-2005, 12:49 PM
try girl with curious hair.
if you like that then set a month aside for infinite jest.
neither of these are maths though.

jenks
23-03-2005, 03:04 PM
dfw - his short stories are as good as anywhere else to start, demonstrating his range form hypnotic storyteller to annoying pomo no-ending stories - the girl with the curious hair for my money being better than brief interviews with hideous men (although the interviews that make up a running theme in the book are great), i haven't read the latest collection of short stories but i get the impression that the critical tide is turning against him - as it seems to be with most of the barthelme inspired school - antrim et al.
as for the novels, nothing beats infinite jest - yes huge and unwieldy but it really is a great read and is full of more ideas than most writers can possibly dream of - the militant grammarians who blow up supermarkets for having eight items or less aisles, the canadian terrorist group who are all wheel chair bound and the terror of the phrase'hearing the wheel chair squeak', the subtle and persisent references to Hamlet, the bizarreness of tennis schools, game theory and addiction, etc - a big , ambitious novel that does the job - also teh last word in novels with footnotes.
the other novel - the broom of the system is also worth the read but has an annoying ending.
his journalism - a supposeely fun thing i'll never do again is maybe a better place to start if you've got into him via his non-fiction - the supposedly fun thing is a cruise and his descriptions of the ship, its crew and the holidaymakers make it sound like one of the most helliish events one would voluntarily take part in. also has a good profile of david lynch in there and a fine explanation of being a tennis pro (dfw wasa child tennis star)
would though stay well clear of signifying rappers by him and mark costello which is rubbish and am glad i only paid two quid for it from a book shop near the british museum - white boy miscomprehension regarding rap music.
hope this is of some usps i would check out J. Robert lennon if you like dfw.

francesco
28-03-2005, 12:12 PM
Thanks very much.
The little book shop near home had a copy of infinite jest and were shocked that they finally sell it! Th cute shop assistant young girl commented "it's longer than Lord of the Ring!". So i'm beginning in reading that, and it will take time (but i love long books!). I'll chech out Robert Lennon i'm very interested.

satanmcnugget
28-03-2005, 03:00 PM
not any kind of expert on this guy....found him inconsistent...really really enjoyed Infinte Jest, though...highly recommended...may check out this Maths book at some point

Tweak Head
01-05-2005, 08:26 PM
Infinite Jest is worth the effort. I agree w/everything Jenks said about it but would also add that it's damn funny too. A tip: read the footnotes in the right place (i.e. don't ignore them and then read them at the end) as they add to the plot. Even the filmography.

Supposedly Fun Thing is mixed. The title story is the cruise one, which is great. The tennis pro one is great as well.

zhao
17-05-2005, 06:41 AM
my second post here: yeah parts of infinite jest is fucking hillarious. but the Canadian terrorist group bits really went over my head... didn't know what to make of it. so I made it about half or 2/3 way through. my favorite DFW story is in "Brief Interviews", the one where he does open-head surgery on that poor manic-depressive girl... pretty amazing in its methodical analysis and clinical telling of the story. with more than a touch of misanthropy... I think atleast.

he's more interesting than Dave Eggers. whose debut I'm just now reading, which is neither heart-breaking nor staggering in its genius. just kind of cute and funny at times.

version
09-04-2019, 11:28 PM
What do we think of the backlash over the last few years? I get it in terms of the man himself as the stuff he's been accused of is awful and I'm not his biggest fan as far as his work is concerned anyway, but saying you haven't read Infinite Jest is apparently a point of pride these days.

luka
10-04-2019, 08:40 AM
He's probably the worst writer of the last 100 years. End of conversation. Lock thread.

sadmanbarty
10-04-2019, 11:24 AM
It’ll all work itself out

craner
10-04-2019, 11:24 AM
but saying you haven't read Infinite Jest is apparently a point of pride these days.

Luke and I actually started this.

pattycakes_
10-04-2019, 11:26 AM
I like what he says about irony.

IdleRich
10-04-2019, 11:47 AM
I'm sure I've said it before but Infinite Jest really is genius and everything else I've read by him is on a significantly lower level, some of it (The Broom of the System) to the extent that it seems like a less gifted writer trying to pastiche him. It makes me think that IJ is a fluke - except can you really fluke a book 900 pages long? I don't get the dislike, sure IJ is clever clever but it also really has heart to it, it has feeling and (to me anyway) it seems genuine. Any irritation you get from perceived smugness or smartness should really be smoothed away by this. IJ is Gravity's Rainbow with a soul and it's all the better for that.

Corpsey
10-04-2019, 12:27 PM
I like his essays, never read his fiction.

His essay about Federer, for example https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html

If luka can praise Barney Ronay to the skies surely he'll concede this is good shit :gun:

DannyL
10-04-2019, 12:42 PM
On my hols, so not inclined to write long posts but I second what Rich says. IJ is just magnificent. Much more human than Pynchon, but beautifully written, crazily creative. Was a joy to read tbh, though of course I flagged at points.

IdleRich
10-04-2019, 12:44 PM
Absolutely Dan - much better to write long involved posts when you're supposed to be teaching.

version
10-04-2019, 02:19 PM
IJ is Gravity's Rainbow with a soul and it's all the better for that.

I've never understood the "soulless" line on Pynchon, just isn't how I view him at all, and Wallace's sincerity felt like a schtick to me.

IdleRich
10-04-2019, 02:50 PM
I've never understood the "soulless" line on Pynchon, just isn't how I view him at all, and Wallace's sincerity felt like a schtick to me.
I don't mean to say GR is soulless but IJ is more emotional. I don't see it as sctick though, seemingly the 12 step and rehab stuff (one of the best parts) is drawn from his own life and probably elements of the tennis stuff too - although obviously taken further to an illogical conclusion.

version
10-04-2019, 03:01 PM
I don't mean to say GR is soulless but IJ is more emotional.

Fair enough. I'd agree with that.


I don't see it as sctick though, seemingly the 12 step and rehab stuff (one of the best parts) is drawn from his own life and probably elements of the tennis stuff too - although obviously taken further to an illogical conclusion.

I just find it hard to take it at face value after reading other stuff of his and learning about his personal life. It can also come off as a bit cloying and overly nice, like a creepy guidance counselor.

IdleRich
10-04-2019, 06:50 PM
I just find it hard to take it at face value after reading other stuff of his and learning about his personal life. It can also come off as a bit cloying and overly nice, like a creepy guidance counselor.
Isn't it possible though that he can be both a bit of an arsehole (especially with women) and at the same time be genuinely sympathetic to people who, like him, are suffering with drug problems and depression? I mean if you think it's cloying then that means you have a problem with his style and that is an aesthetic issue I guess. But even if he doesn't get it across well (which I think he does) then I don't think that makes it not genuinely meant. I mean I think that calling it schtick is maybe unfair even if what you say here is true.

luka
10-04-2019, 07:12 PM
I like his essays, never read his fiction.

His essay about Federer, for example https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html

If luka can praise Barney Ronay to the skies surely he'll concede this is good shit :gun:

Barney Ronay is funny, works on a deliberately small scale, little observations, gentle piss taking, sort of comments your mate would make while you watch the game together on telly. Very human. I can't see the comparison.

version
10-04-2019, 08:10 PM
Isn't it possible though that he can be both a bit of an arsehole (especially with women) and at the same time be genuinely sympathetic to people who, like him, are suffering with drug problems and depression? I mean if you think it's cloying then that means you have a problem with his style and that is an aesthetic issue I guess. But even if he doesn't get it across well (which I think he does) then I don't think that makes it not genuinely meant. I mean I think that calling it schtick is maybe unfair even if what you say here is true.

Oh yeah, it's totally possible and I believe it when he's discussing stuff like mental illness and AA, but the general sincerity, the stuff like This is Water, feels a bit off to me.

version
10-04-2019, 08:14 PM
His best stuff is his nonfiction, imo, the stuff where he has an external subject to focus on and can't talk about himself too much.

blissblogger
10-04-2019, 08:34 PM
the reported story about going on a cruise is top

version
10-04-2019, 09:23 PM
I liked the Federer one a lot.

Corpsey
11-04-2019, 07:50 AM
Barney Ronay is funny, works on a deliberately small scale, little observations, gentle piss taking, sort of comments your mate would make while you watch the game together on telly. Very human. I can't see the comparison.

To me it's about making sport, not *more* vivid than it is, but *as* vivid as it is, but in prose. Which I think DFW does. I think this is true of both these writers, because I don't really give a fuck about sport and I'll still read them writing about it. Except Barnay Ronay strikes me as a try hard sometimes, a forehead strainer.

Corpsey
11-04-2019, 08:04 AM
I much prefer reading about sport to watching it.

I suppose because sport is about boredom punctuated with stimulation, and writing is about constant stimulation...

Really, then, I was lying just then - I want it to be *more* vivid than sport, cerebrally speaking.

Corpsey
11-04-2019, 08:08 AM
So maybe *a* reason you prefer Ronay is you actually watch football on telly, so Ronay is talking to your actual experience of football, whereas DFW is writing about tennis to people who aren't necessarily interested in tennis, pitching it towards the pointy heads.

Agent Nucleus
11-04-2019, 08:31 AM
Can't help noticing someone has recently revived threads about Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, JG Ballard, and Richard Powers. Side bets on the next canonical postmodern novelist to get a thread? My money is on Philip K. Dick. Natural progression from the Wake-McLuhan-psychedelic nexus. If it was up to me, it would be Bret Easton Ellis, who actually has some new material worth commenting on, or Joan Didion.

Agent Nucleus
11-04-2019, 05:50 PM
His best stuff is his nonfiction, imo, the stuff where he has an external subject to focus on and can't talk about himself too much.

Yeah his essays on the McCain campaign trail and the late 90's porn convention are so funny and heartbreaking at the same time. I mean, all of these writers (DeLillo, Pynchon, DFW, etc.) have souls, just divided, heartbroken, long-suffering ones. Come to think of it, maintaining a balance of funny and heartbroken might be the prerequisite for success as a pomo artist. Or it was the prereq since pomo is dead. It's like The Walking Dead, version. Time to just let go and move on, we're in the zombie apocalypse now and you just have to let go (I can't do my fucking Rick Grimes impersonation anymore I should just end it).

version
11-04-2019, 05:56 PM
What comes after postmodernism?

luka
11-04-2019, 07:16 PM
Gnosis

IdleRich
11-04-2019, 07:20 PM
You can add as many posts as you like - we're up to post-post-post-post-modernism now (can be written p to the fourth)

Agent Nucleus
11-04-2019, 08:44 PM
What comes after postmodernism?


Gnosis

Interesting. If you take a dialectical approach to the question, and employ the vaguest possible definitions of modernism and postmodernism, you could arrive at the synthesis of absolutism and relativism as the answer. Now, what that would look like, I have no idea, and it could be something like gnosis/anamnesis. But I'm working on it, or it is working me over, all the time.

version
11-04-2019, 09:12 PM
I've seen the term "metamodernism" bandied about, but I don't know much about it.

In 2010 the cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker introduced the term metamodernism [24] as an intervention in the post-postmodernism debate. In their article 'Notes on metamodernism' they assert that the 2000s are characterized by the emergence of a sensibility that oscillates between, and must be situated beyond, modern positions and postmodern strategies. As examples of the metamodern sensibility Vermeulen and van den Akker cite the 'informed naivety', 'pragmatic idealism' and 'moderate fanaticism' of the various cultural responses to, among others, climate change, the financial crisis, and (geo)political instability.

The prefix 'meta' here refers not to some reflective stance or repeated rumination, but to Plato's metaxy, which intends a movement between opposite poles as well as beyond.

Agent Nucleus
11-04-2019, 09:17 PM
I don't know. That doesn't feel like a synthesis. More like a compromise between modernism and postmodernism. I suspect whatever it will be will absolutely annihilate the idea that we were ever modern at all. Like breaking through on DMT or Salvia. You just stare in awe realizing you exist on a very low level of the evolutionary chain. More advanced technology and beings are in, around, beyond us all the time.

slackk
13-04-2019, 10:38 PM
Once you have read Harold Brodkey you can see where Dave got a lot of his stylistic quirks from. "...Classical Mode" especially

IdleRich
13-04-2019, 11:23 PM
Doesn't meta originally mean very simply "after"? I thought that what became metaphysics was literally what was in the books Aristotle had on his shelf after physics. Or is that bollocks?

version
14-04-2019, 12:12 AM
Once you have read Harold Brodkey you can see where Dave got a lot of his stylistic quirks from. "...Classical Mode" especially

Apparently he lifted a bit from Gaddis too.

IdleRich
14-04-2019, 11:34 AM
You can see something of the style in John Irving but DFW certainly took it further.

Corpsey
14-04-2019, 11:46 AM
A DWF video popped up in my suggesteds today and that weird doo rag/bandana he wore is enough to put me off reading him ever again.

version
14-04-2019, 02:14 PM
Apparently that was to mask what he thought was a sweating problem, but he also claimed it was to stop his head exploding.

Agent Nucleus
05-06-2019, 06:52 AM
What comes after postmodernism?

Not trying to sound cute, but I would call it "postmortem." As in, after viral or non-reflexive discourse (just everyone shouting at once) leads to splatter, the generation that comes after us will have to clean up the mess and then try to document and explain it. The splatter could take so many forms, maybe every possible form: worldwide total doxxing (my personal favorite) where everyone's private shit becomes public, or nuclear holocaust, or environmental catastrophe, maybe meme/discourse/cyber warfare. Addiction to social media and reality media (tabloids, porn) , ie the state of being perpetually trapped in a cycle of hyper-mediated communication that moves too fast, and provides too much instant self-gratification for intellectual distance or reflection, means crisis solutions become impossible.

Man that image from Infinite Jest with the liaison dead in front of his teleputer (I read it 15 years ago, forgive me if my memory's fuzzy) still haunts me. Wallace knew we were getting sucked into a void, guess he realized we crossed a critical threshold, and thought death was his only escape. WRONG.

Well, back to The Wizard starring Fred Savage. How did these kids avoid getting molested, and how were they staying hydrated?

version
05-06-2019, 07:43 PM
Not trying to sound cute, but I would call it "postmortem." As in, after viral or non-reflexive discourse (just everyone shouting at once) leads to splatter, the generation that comes after us will have to clean up the mess and then try to document and explain it.

Wallace said something along those lines.

For me, the last few years of the postmodern era have seemed a bit like the way you feel when you’re in high school and your parents go on a trip, and you throw a party. You get all your friends over and throw this wild disgusting fabulous party. For a while it’s great, free and freeing, parental authority gone and overthrown, a cat’s-away-let’s-play Dionysian revel. But then time passes and the party gets louder and louder, and you run out of drugs, and nobody’s got any money for more drugs, and things get broken and spilled, and there’s a cigarette burn on the couch, and you’re the host and it’s your house too, and you gradually start wishing your parents would come back and restore some fucking order in your house. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the sense I get of my generation of writers and intellectuals or whatever is that it’s 3:00 A.M. and the couch has several burn-holes and somebody’s thrown up in the umbrella stand and we’re wishing the revel would end. The postmodern founders’ patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We’re kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of course we’re uneasy about the fact that we wish they’d come back–I mean, what’s wrong with us? Are we total pussies? Is there something about authority and limits we actually need? And then the uneasiest feeling of all, as we start gradually to realize that parents in fact aren’t ever coming back–which means “we’re” going to have to be the parents.

Agent Nucleus
06-06-2019, 07:26 AM
Love that quote, especially the part at the end: "Oh shit, we have to be the parents now. We have to clean up the mess!" I suspect if DFW were alive today, he'd say we failed to face that challenge, failed miserably (especially artists), which is why the most powerful person in the world is an adult infant. Infantalization is how splatter manifests in human personalities, which is translated into political and cultural discourse, creating a feedback loop.

A poll was released today by CNN: 52% of Americans believe Trump will be re-elected in 2020. Grab a mop. Or a noose.

I can't stand when adults try to act, sound, or look "cute." It triggers homicidal impulses. Watching adults dance in synchronization, which I just did while viewing LaLaLand for the first time (opening scene), just makes me boil over with inchoate rage. Like boiling black molasses. The rest of LaLaLand was pretty good though. Beautiful elegy to the end of Hollywood and its plastic dream machine.