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Thread: David Foster Wallace

  1. #16
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    Absolutely Dan - much better to write long involved posts when you're supposed to be teaching.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    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.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    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.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I don't mean to say GR is soulless but IJ is more emotional.
    Fair enough. I'd agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    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.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    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.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    I like his essays, never read his fiction.

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

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

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    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.

  8. #23
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    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.

  9. #24
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    the reported story about going on a cruise is top

  10. #25
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    I liked the Federer one a lot.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    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.

  12. #27
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    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.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 11-04-2019 at 08:09 AM.

  13. #28
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    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.

  14. #29
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    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.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    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).

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