The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Reading DFW Led Me Back to Studying the Talmud

Interesting. Joesph Winkler's essay for Tablet, Reading David Foster Wallace Led Me Back to Studying the Talmud:

David Foster Wallace rekindled my love of Talmud.

To be more exact, the realization of the Talmudic nature of David Foster Wallace let me see that I never truly left the world of the Talmud; I’d just transmuted that experience into an obsession with literature, and specifically with him.

As an obsessive fanboy of the deceased author, I was asked to speak at a meeting of the David Foster Wallace Appreciation Society at the WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn last February about how I first came to love him. In preparing for this small shiur on Wallace, I came to the sudden and convincing realization of the Talmudic nature of his works and thought: Like the commentaries on commentaries in the Talmud, Wallace wrote footnotes on footnotes. In his works, ideas lead to more and stranger, seemingly digressive ideas; and like the Talmud, Wallace finds meaning in the apparently irrelevant and idiosyncratic particulars of life. (The comparisons could go on. Just look at the layout of this Wallace essay and compare its appearance to this page of Talmud.) I realized how, in my religious development, I’d simply gone from one Talmud to the next. Appreciating this comparison reopened the wound I’d had since leaving Talmud behind, and I could no longer shake the ache of longing for a life of Talmudic study.

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The ‘Conservative’ DFW?

James Santel's essay for The Hudson Review, On David Foster Wallace’s Conservatism:

[...] However, Wallace’s writing—including Both Flesh and Not,[5] the first posthumous collection of Wallace’s essays, which appeared in 2012—reminds us that another politically-tinged strain was present in Wallace’s work, running counter to the collective possibilities implied by The Pale King. Wallace’s writing did indeed frequently express the hope that human beings could transcend the limits of selfhood and language to reach one another in meaningful ways. But it was a hope severely curbed by his bedrock belief that true empathy is impossible, a belief most clearly expressed in his nonfiction, where it often took the form of a small-c conservatism, a deference to individual choice that arises from the inevitability of solipsism and isolation. What makes Wallace’s conservatism particularly disheartening is the extent to which it suggests he had difficulty placing his faith not only in other human beings, but also in the art form at which he was so obviously gifted, an art form in many ways predicated on sociability. [...]

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Also, Rod Dreher responds over at The American Conservative, The ‘Conservative’ David Foster Wallace?





Sony Pictures Gains Rights to End of the Tour

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Picks Up ‘The End Of The Tour’, Starring Jason Segel & Jesse Eisenberg:

A week after Kilburn Media came aboard to finance The End Of The Tour, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has picked up rights for multiple territories to the pic at Berlin.

[via Deadline]

Previously, The End of the Tour - Opinion Round-Up.


Infinite Wallace - Paris Conference Program

Infinite Wallace Conference - Paris September 2014

The Infinite Wallace Conference Program is out and it looks amazing.

It will be difficult to sit here in Australia knowing this is happening on the other side of the world... super keen for reports and live-blogging. If you're interested in helping out with some DFW reportage let me know.


Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 16:55

Infinite Boston - Full Podcast of Show

You can now listen to the podcast of The Radio Open Source David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, and Boston, Infinite Boston, which aired on 90.9 wbur at 9pm Thursday (rebroadcast 2pm Sunday).

Listen to Infinite Boston.

Additional/extended material:

Sven Birkerts: Present at the Creation of “Infinite Jest”

The Infinite Boston Tour

D.T. Max on David Foster Wallace’s Boston

(Also, listen out for proof that my 2:30am maths skills are... problematic. Vox pop from me at the top of the show claiming I read Infinite Jest 19 years ago. ie. before it was published.)

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 18:23

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

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