The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Radio Open Source - 9pm Tonight - Preview Now

The Radio Open Source show about David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, and Boston, Infinite Boston, airs at 9pm tonight on 90.9 wbur (rebroadcast 2pm Sunday).

A preview of the episode can be found here, D.T. Max on David Foster Wallace’s Boston.


Also, check out Reddit's /r/literature for a conversation leading to this episode of radio open source.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 00:46

Radio Open Source - Infinite Jest

Update: The show will air Thursday 30th Jan at 9pm and be rebroadcast on the following Sunday at 2pm.

Also, check out Reddit's /r/literature for a conversation about this upcoming episode.

Following from the most recent show, Activism in Memory of Aaron Swartz (follow the link and listen from around 31 minutes to hear Maria Bustillos - @mariabustillos - speak about Swartz and Infinite Jest) next week's show will look more closely at Infinite Jest.

Some information about the Infinite Jest show from Max, Producer with Radio Open Source, Christopher Lydon's new show on WBUR:

Radio Open Source will be broadcasting a full hour next Thursday 30th Jan on the connection between Boston itself and David Foster Wallace's Boston — Endless Stem, CITGO sign, Chickens Fresh Killed, all of it. They have taken Bill Lattanzi's terrific tour and plan to have audio and video thereof go up around airtime.

They are also seeking audio, ideas and recommendations.

They have a call-in line where you can leave a message about favorite passages, characters, Boston vignettes in the book — that's here: (617) 353-0692. Those soundbites will be woven into the radio show. Please email the info account, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , if you can think of anything they should know about or anything that they really shouldn't leave out.

[Thanks, Max]

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 00:49

English Studies Journal Special Issue - The Pale King

Special Issue: Unfinished: Critical Approaches to David Foster Wallace's The Pale King English Studies Volume 95, Issue 1, 2014.

If you have access through a library or university to English Studies then this looks to be a fantastic issue to track down (unfortunately my NLA membership with access to thousands upon thousands of journals doesn't seem to include this one).

It's co-edited by Luc Herman and Toon Staes (he organised the Antwerp Wallace conference) and features - among other things - a number of contributions by speakers at the Antwerp conference (including the keynote speakers, Burn and Boswell). It will be circulated in print around April.


Introduction: Can The Pale King (Please) be a Novel? Luc Herman & Toon Staes

Pay Attention! David Foster Wallace and his Real Enemies.  Tore Rye Andersen

Author Here: The Legal Fiction of David Foster Wallace's The Pale King.  Marshall Boswell

Forms, Punch Cards and LETTERS: Self-Reference, Recursion and (Un)self-Consciousness in The Pale King's Representation of Bureaucracy.  Simon de Bourcier

Subjective Politics in The Pale King.  Emily J. Hogg

Work in Process: A Genesis for The Pale King.  Toon Staes

Toward a General Theory of Vision in Wallace's Fiction.  Stephen J. Burn


I can't wait to read these!


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 12:50

ISU May 2014 DFW Conference - Call For Papers

Download the call for papers for Illinois State University's First Annual David Foster Wallace Conference. Friday, May 23, 2014 at The Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference  Center, 201 Broadway Street, Normal, Illinois 61761.



Featured presenters may be selected from early submissions.

Submissions will be considered in three categories: Scholarship of David Foster Wallace; Scholarship of Contemporary Literature, Publishing, or Culture that considers issues including, but not limited to: innovative/experimental literature; the future of literature and/or publishing; digital vs. traditional publishing/literature; the field of publishing in relation to contemporary literature and/or culture; literature, publishing, or scholarship as art; etc.; and the presentation of Original Creative Work exemplified by any of the above issues and/or that engages its subject from an original, committed, and human perspective.


Download the call for papers now.


Registration for the conference is now open


[Thanks Jane and Shelly]

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 January 2014 12:12

The Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of DFW and the “Reality Boundary”

Josh Roiland's (@JoshRoiland) super detailed and extensive review of Both Flesh and Not, A Review EssayThe Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of David Foster Wallace and the “Reality Boundary", can be found in Literary Journalism Studies and here.

It is much more than a review of Both Flesh and Not; at it's heart is an analysis of "the reality boundary" in Wallace's work:

Although it contains only two works of literary journalism—stories that have been reported and sourced and then told using a variety of literary devices—this book is useful for the ontological questions it raises about the nature of genre formation, literary categories, and “the reality boundary.”8 Moreover, the collection offers clues on Wallace’s thoughts about the genre and these attendant issues—a topic that has garnered modest attention since his death, with charges of embellishment and exaggeration made by his close friend Jonathan Franzen and repeated by his biographer D.T. Max.


During a public conversation at the 2011 New Yorker Festival, Wallace’s close friend and literary competitor, Jonathan Franzen, told David Remnick that he and Wallace disagreed about whether embellishment was an acceptable journalistic trait. Unsolicited, Franzen tells Remnick, “David and I disagreed on that.” Surprised, Remnick then randomly picks Wallace’s 1996 story “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” and asks Franzen, “He said it was okay to make up dialogue on a cruise ship?” To which Franzen replies, “For instance, yeah.” Franzen, who regularly contributes to Remnick’s magazine, then posits that one reason Wallace never published any nonfiction in the New Yorker was because of its historically rigorous fact-checking process. Remnick admitted Wallace tried, but he never says why the proposals were turned down.


Very interesting reading.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 January 2014 02:14

The World of David Foster Wallace

Lee Konstantinou's (@LKONSTAN and co-editor of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace) 28 page essay,The World of David Foster Wallace, from Fall 2013 boundary 2, can be downloaded here if you sign up to Here are a couple of select quotes from the second section that might help you decide if it's worth your time. (Hint: It is.)


Interrogating the art of Wallace for its worldly constituents may at first seem perverse. After all, across his three novels, three story collections, two nonfiction volumes, and his other works, Wallace focuses almost exclusively on what have been characterized as US-centric themes. He represents, in his fiction and nonfiction, a sort of postmodern parochialism, identified for him with irony and cynicism, that he found himself complicit in perpetuating and that he wanted to escape, hoping to forge a post-postmodern aesthetic.


Paul Giles is one of the few critics to claim that Wallace’s fiction shows “how globalization works not just as a distant political theory but as something that affects the hearts and minds of the national community.”30 Giles is not wrong to argue for a transnational dimension to Wallace’s work, but there is also a clear break in Wallace’s fiction from the internationalism of writers such as Pynchon and DeLillo. Wallace suggests that it is increasingly hard, even in an age of globalization, to imagine an outside to American culture for residents of the contemporary United States. In recognizing this dilemma, he is conscious of himself as part of an emerging post-postmodern wave of American artists, indebted to the worldly visions of their predecessors but unable to replicate them. Moreover, Wallace rejects the solution offered by some of his contemporaries, especially the globe-trotting novelist and journalist William T. Vollmann, with whom he felt intensely competitive.




Last Updated on Saturday, 04 January 2014 01:48

Recovery - Practically Painless English

Practically Painless English, by Sally Foster Wallace recovered by Diego Báez.

Octopus recovery projects are brief essays celebrating a single book that you feel people should be reading but are not reading:


According to its preface, Practically Painless English “strives to convey some of the fun and excitement that working with language can offer [and] to involve students in the beauty, logic, pizzazz, and joy of English.” Keywords “fun” and “logic” will raise flags in the minds of diehard loyalists to the cult of St. Dave. For the uninitiated, it may be interesting to begin with a remedial primer that seems almost to premonish the emergence of DFW’s preternatural talent. From its unconventional title to its quirky sample sentences to its stated concern with readerly comprehension, Ms. Wallace’s instructional prose smacks at times of DFW’s own writerly conventions (she even signs the preface: S.F.W.), at others it’s more than mere familial likeness; seems like DFW himself could’ve penned it. And even a cursory read-through of Practically Painless yields a great many similarities and remarkable moments.


Continue reading...

[Thanks, Diego]

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 10:49

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