The international David Foster Wallace conference Infinite Wallace / Wallace infini kicks off in Paris later this week (Sep 11, 12 and 13) and the great news is that two readers have offered to report their experiences to us while they are there!
Tony McMahon (School of Media and Communication RMIT University) is already in Paris blogging his trip. Here's his first post:
Paris, September 2, 2014.
Please find attached pictures of your correspondent doing some pre-conference acclimatising at The Sorbonne. Forever the nervous type, I wanted to familiarise myself with the surroundings in which I fully fear I will make, well, a complete berk of myself, thus bringing shame on my university, my family and, you know, the House of Atreus or... whatever.
Anyway... what would you read on the steps of the Grand amphithéâtre of the Institut du monde anglophone before a Wallace conference but Hemingway's A Moveable Feast?
Wallace maybe, sure, but I would have needed to walk ten paces across the street to some chainy-type bookstore where I found French translations of Girl With Curious Hair, The Pale King and Broom of the System, but not, interestingly, Infinite Jest. (Given the Infinite Wallace Conference is, I believe, in part, a celebration of the first French translation of said Magnum Opus, I'm assuming I'll be able to pick one up there).
Five paces across from the selfied university entrance there's a cinema.
Fitting, since cinemas are everywhere in Paris; the majority of my fellow panel members on the morning of Thursday September 11 are talking about Wallace and cinema; and Wallace himself was one of the most cinema literate writers that ever lived.
Two paces from the entrance there's a plaque commemorating (I think) Sarah Bernhardt's appearance at the same venue, just in case your hapless reporter wasn't feeling enough Antipodean/ PhD Student With A Bad Case Of Imposter Syndrome pressure already.