Frank Cassese has an interesting reflection over at Guernica, It Doesn’t Mean We’re Wasting Our Time: Reflections on a postcard from David Foster Wallace. (1/11/12):
[...]My letter began with honest praise, explaining the kind of influence his books exerted over me, how I felt upon reading Infinite Jest and how said experience propelled me into serious fiction writing and thus landed me in the quagmire I now found myself, perhaps in retrospect trying to impart a bit of guilt onto the writer for the unintended impetus that had led me to this impasse. Then I informed him of my situation, letting him in on the awful obstacles to publication I had theretofore encountered, and humbly requesting that he permit me to send him my novel. It seemed like a reasonable request at the time. I didn’t expect him to drop everything, read my book and proclaim it a work of unsurpassable genius; I didn’t expect a close reading with detailed editorial suggestions and lengthy comments. I suppose all I was hoping for was that my writing be read by David Foster Wallace, which, at the risk of hyperbole, was somewhat akin to a zealot’s hope that his prayers find their way into the hands of a worshiped but otherwise uninterested god. Mostly, I was feeling down and desperate, and reaching out to the man who had greatly inspired my failing quest just felt like something I should do, if for nothing else than for having done so.
Several months later I received a postcard in the mail, a slightly tattered 4×6 of Dodger Stadium, with Los Angeles smeared across the top in imposing red capitals and a smoggy scattered skyline in the background. By this time I had all but forgotten my letter. I didn’t know anyone in LA, but figured a friend was traveling and decided to drop a line, so I lowered my eyes past the rows of neatly lined and evenly spaced blue ink print to the signature, which was illegible, next to an adumbrated smiley face.[...]
Due in March 2013 is another book of essays about the work of David Foster Wallace, A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies. Exciting because it is edited by Marshall Boswell (Understanding David Foster Wallace) and Stephen J. Burn (Conversations with David Foster Wallace and Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide).
This one's been on the horizon for a while and it's great to read some concrete info about it. Unfortunately, the Amazon pre-order list price has it targeted purely at the academic market thus far. I hope a paperback becomes available too.
Plenty of info over at Palgrave Macmillan:
Criticism of the work of David Foster Wallace has tended to be atomistic, focusing on a single aspect of individual works. A Companion to the Work of David Foster Wallace is designed as a professional study of all of Wallace's creative work. With essays written by both top scholars in the field and exciting newcomers, the volume is anchored by a set of essays that provide detailed readings of each of his major works of fiction, including three novels and three story collections. Interwoven through these half-dozen single-text studies are thematic-based essays that address larger segments of Wallace's achievement via an eclectic range of critical environments, including mathematics, the spatial turn in contemporary criticism, gender theory, the legacy of American Pragmatism, and the emergent field of post-postmodern literary studies.
1. Almost a Novel: The Broom of the System; Patrick O'Donnell
2. A Fiction of Response: Girl with Curious Hair in Context; Kasia Boddy
3. David Foster Wallace and the Mathematics of Infinity; Roberto Natalini
4. "Webs of Nerves Pulsing and Firing': Infinite Jest and the Science of Mind; Stephen J. Burn
5. Location's Location: Placing David Foster Wallace; Paul Quinn
6. Mediated Immediacy in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Mary K. Holland
7. '…': Language, Gender, and Modes of Power in the Work of David Foster Wallace; Claire Hayes-Brady
8. 'The Constant Monologue Inside Your Head': Oblivion and the Nightmare of Consciousness; Marshal Boswell
9. 'The Chains of Not Choosing': Free Will and Faith in William James and David Foster Wallace; David H. Evans
10. The Pale King, or, The White Visitation; Brian McHale
11. The Novel After David Foster Wallace; Andrew Hoberek
Last Updated on Sunday, 28 October 2012 23:24
With the US release date of Nov 6th for David Foster Wallace's uncollected essays, Both Flesh and Not: Essays, almost here and word that the Australian imprint is already appearing in stores, I guess it's time to remind you all about it (particularly as I've been sitting on preview copies for a little while now - big thanks to Little Brown and Penguin Australia for those) though recent events have made it difficult to get anything much done around here.
Both Flesh and Not: Essays is an unusual collection of David Foster Wallace's essays. Unusual because I've read them all before, as I'm sure plenty of big fans of David Foster Wallace non-fiction will have too. Some of the essays in this collection (such as the title essay about Roger Federer) are still available online in slightly different versions, others in the collection have been read by dedicated fans by visiting libraries to seek past issues of magazines, passed as photocopies between friends, or even 'discovered' on the internet.
That said, this is the first time these have been collected together. They span Wallace's career, and range for fantastic must-read pieces, to some that are here because they've not been officially collected before. I'm not going to get drawn into arguments as to the why of this release, or the timing. I'm honestly happy this collection is available for those of us that want them now (or close enough to be now) and crave polished and bound versions to sit on the shelf near the others. There's no doubt these were going to be collected at some stage.
But this is also a great collection for the many DFW readers who love his non-fiction, devour his essays whenever they appear in sight, and have not seen these before. I'm going to bet that many of the readers that buy this collection have not read all of the essays contained within before. And that's pretty much why this little website exists. I want more people to read the work of David Foster Wallace.
There are also a couple of little surprises that I didn't really expect to be included. One of them, 24 Word Notes, collects the word note entries that David Foster Wallace contributed to the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus (which I bought on release, yes, for DFW's word notes). If you're not quite the completist that I am, and thus haven't already read these then you're in for a treat. There's much elation and entertainment to be found in DFW's precision about specific word usage. At least for me.
Pre-order Both Flesh and Not: Essays now.
Reviews and Articles (let me know if you find ant more):
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2012 16:09
UPDATE: There's a new Indiegogo perk, $15 "For our Far Flung Friends" - This is a special one for those too far away to catch the show. We'll give you special online access to video from the performance as well as a unique, online program. Only a couple of hours to go!
David Foster Wallace's, Good Old Neon, will be performed by Ian Forester (Needtheater) in Culver City, CA at The Ivy Substation, as G.O.Ne. (Previously performed as, Glint).
Ian was inspired by the story's powerful message and decided to adapt "Good Old Neon," as a one-man show for the stage. Ian performed the play, then titled Glint, to much acclaim during the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Not only was it a critical success but more importantly, it galvanized both audiences and Needtheater itself. We were amazed at the way audiences felt the need to talk about this show after it was done, the way it seemed to touch on the deepest and most shared parts of who we are as humans. It did exactly what we always dream theater can do. We had to do it again.
And so, with permission from Wallace's estate and with generous support from the Culver City Performing Arts Grant Program, Needtheater brings G.O.Ne to the historic Ivy Substation for two nights only, October 23 & 24.
Tickets available here OR you can support the show through indiegogo if you can't make it (or even if you can, check out the perks).
Promotional video here (and indiegogo info).
I'd love to attend this! (Please send me a review if you see it).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 23:07
This sounds great, anyone going?
Infinite fest: Foster Wallace fan club a supposedly fun thing they plan to do again:
The David Foster Wallace Appreciation Society — dubbed TDFWAS to pay homage to the insightful and humorous writer’s occasional use of intentionally long and awkward acronyms — will meet for readings, discussions, and maybe even David Foster Wallace-themed field trips, organizers say.
The group’s Oct. 24 kick-off meeting coincides with the release of D.T. Max’s “Every Love Story is a Ghost Story,” a biography chronicling the Wallace’s life and tragic suicide. Max and Gerry Howard, a Doubleday editor-at-large, will discuss the acclaimed author of “Consider the Lobster” and “The Pale King,” among other works.
The David Foster Wallace Appreciation Society at Word [126 Franklin St. at the corner of Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbrooklyn.com].Oct. 24 at 7 pm. Free.