The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Fighting the TED Talks-ization of Commencement Speeches

Via Salon from Luke Epplin, Congratulations, by the way: David Foster Wallace, George Saunders and fighting the TED Talks-ization of commencement speeches - Commencement addresses are TED Talks, all humblebraggy and eager to go viral. DFW and Saunders make them real again:

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It’s not a coincidence that the addresses given by David Foster Wallace and George Saunders were selected for publication. Both literary authors have amassed unusually large and dedicated readerships. It’s hard to imagine that any writer of short stories other than Saunders would be asked to appear on such coveted programs as “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Colbert Report.” Wallace’s reputation as a tormented genius who grappled with the cacophony of our media-saturated age has only grown since his 2008 suicide. His plainspoken commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College was perhaps the most accessible bit of writing he produced; as a result, it’s been celebrated widely as a portal into the larger philosophical questions that animated his life and work. At the popular site Brain Pickings, Maria Popova asserted that Wallace’s address peels back “the curtain on the triumphs and tragedies of being David Foster Wallace.”

[...]

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Last Updated on Monday, 05 May 2014 13:42
 

What is Andy Fox Reading?

What is Andy Fox reading in Bill Amend's latest Foxtrot?

@billamend gives us a closer look.

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L.A. Review of Books - Good Old Wallace

Tim Peters looks deeply at Good Old Neon (from Oblivion) for the Los Angeles Review of Books suggesting allusions to Hawthorne, Hemingway, Salinger and Tolstoy as well as a reading re: the state of prose fiction today in his essay, Good Old Wallace:

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Is “Good Old Neon” then a sort of vivid, pessimistic prophecy? A vision of a psyche that for some troublingly deep, fundamental, almost a priori reason is both unable and unwilling to grow up and to evolve and to participate in the world as a responsible adult? Could it be that this anxiety is also what’s hiding behind prose fiction’s societal malaise, and behind the troubles Wallace was having while he worked on The Pale King? That plain old unadorned narrative prose has just become more or less culturally impotent and exhausted and unable to extricate itself from the spiral of inauthenticity?

[...]

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Last Updated on Monday, 05 May 2014 13:19
 

Infinite Jest Cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Apparently Infinite Jest appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (it's mentioned in this Guardian review and heaps of you have let me know).

Can anyone who has seen the film confirm that this is the moment?

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Last Updated on Saturday, 03 May 2014 22:52
 

Texas Bar Journal Reviews Quack This Way

Nice review of Garner's Quack This Way by John Browning over in the Texas Bar Journal, Quack This Way: David Foster Wallace & Bryan A. Garner Talk Language and Writing (pdf).

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Last Updated on Saturday, 03 May 2014 15:07
 

David Foster Wallace and the Trouble with Public Image

Evan Kindley's piece article forThe Paris Review, I Did Not Approve This Message, considers similarities between the Wallace estate's opinions of The End of the Tour and the case of James Joyce and Samuel Roth back in 1926:

In 2010, just under two years after David Foster Wallace’s death, the journalist David Lipsky published Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, a memoir of transcripts from an interview he’d conducted with Wallace in 1996 for Rolling Stone. The book was well reviewed—it made the Times best-seller list—and late last year it was announced that it would become a film starring Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky and Jason Segel as Wallace. The End of the Tour is already in postproduction and slated for release in late 2014, but last week, the Wallace Literary Trust issued a public statement making it “clear that they have no connection with, and neither endorse nor support” the film: “There is no circumstance under which the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust would have consented to the adaptation of this interview into a motion picture, and we do not consider it an homage.”

I was struck by similarities between this situation and the case of James Joyce and Samuel Roth, which began in 1926. In his recent book Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, the scholar Robert Spoo devotes two chapters to Joyce’s desperate attempts to defend his intellectual property against Roth, an infamous American “booklegger” who reprinted the entire text of Ulysses, as well as large portions of Finnegans Wake, without permission. Roth’s actions, like those of the filmmakers of The End of the Tour, were not illegal: Joyce didn’t possess the U.S. copyright on his works, which were originally published in Europe and—after a brief window during which he could have established copyright by securing American publication—fell immediately into the U.S. public domain.

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Karen Green Wins 2013 Believer Poetry Award

Karen Green has won the 2013 Believer Poetry Award for Bough Down.

[Previous thoughts and reviews]

From The Believer:

“Karen Green’s raw, elegant first book—a mixture of verse paragraphs, images of miniature mixed-media collages (Green is also a visual artist), and blank pages—is a moving portrait of love, marriage, the untimely death of a spouse, the poet’s ensuing grief, and the marriage that still, somehow, remains. One of the most intimate and effective extended elegies to be published in recent years (joining such notable works as Anne Carson’s Nox and Rebecca Lindenberg’s Love, an Index), Bough Down is also a brilliant case study in psycho-emotional realism: in this case, the way that psychological rupture affects the very experience of experience, and the role of language in finding one’s way back to normalcy… At all junctures, Green’s writing shows life exceeding expectations—exceeding sense—because it exceeds thought. Bough Down is a breathtaking achievement.”

 

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