The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Home News by Category Infinite Jest Bill Lattanzi's Walking Tour of Infinite Jest

Bill Lattanzi's Walking Tour of Infinite Jest

Great piece over at the Los Angeles Review of Books by Boston writer and filmmaker, Bill Lattanzi (he's also working on a film about the work of David Foster Wallace) about his Infinite Jest walking tour, Messing with Maps: Walking David Foster Wallace’s Boston:

I started searching out the sites of Infinite Jest shortly after Wallace died by suicide in 2008. Like a lot of Wallace fans, I didn’t quite know how to work through my feelings, and exploring the geography of the novel seemed like something I could do. Since then, I’ve given a few tours to interested parties, including friends and fans and radio people and students of mine, as well as Adam Kelly’s class from Harvard [Previously, The Map and the Territory], all of us to different degrees captivated by Wallace and wanting to get closer, to better understand him, to walk where he walked in some sort of strange, secular haj.

It’s weird. Wallace only lived here for three years, but you might think he was an Allston-Brighton lifer from all the geographic shout-outs in Infinite Jest. Hospitals, businesses, streets, schools, parks, tourist attractions, T stops, and signage all but crowd out the characters that move among them, each spot located with GPS-like precision. Maybe he was aping James Joyce, who hoped Ulysses could be used to reconstruct Dublin were it ever destroyed. But walking a couple of miles in Wallace’s footsteps makes Infinite Jest start to look more like a fragmented, compressed, and rebuilt version of every experience, thought, and feeling he had here, every one of them registered deeply in the writer’s part of his skull, transformed, slotted into a newly created imaginary space, and put to use.

Continue reading here.




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