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Home News by Category Infinite Jest The Map and the Territory

The Map and the Territory

Adam Kelly (Irish Research Council CARA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and University College Dublin ) took students from his Harvard undergraduate seminar on an 'Infinite Boston tour':

The occasion for this outing was the inaugural Infinite Boston tour, a journey orientated by sites and events described in David Foster Wallace’s 1996 novel, Infinite Jest. I borrow the phrase “Infinite Boston” from William Beutler’s website of that name, described on its homepage as “a limited-run essay series about the real-life Boston area locations” featured in Wallace’s novel. The site is choc-full of excellent photographs and illuminating descriptions of the various streets and spaces of the book. When confirmation came that I would be teaching “David Foster Wallace and his Generation” in the Spring semester, I contacted Mr. Beutler to see if he would be interested in leading an official tour. It turns out that he does not live in Boston, but in D.C. Instead, he kindly put me in touch with another Bill, Bill Lattanzi – Cambridge resident, playwright, science documentary maker, and part-time MIT professor – who undertook the pre-planning and did the honors in fine style on the day.

But Kelly's piece doesn't just recount the tour, as expected he uses it as a stepping stone to something else, an analysis of maps and territories in Wallace's work:

One of Wallace’s most profound historical projects involved trying to convince his generation of Americans that they needed to revalue and reestablish boundaries; rather than individual freedom inhering in a lack of restrictions, limits could be understood as animating and enabling. The boundaries of a game, and the boundaries of a self, were clearly two kinds of limits that fascinated Wallace.

Read, The Map and the Territory: Infinite Boston, over at The Millions.

Also by Adam Kelly, David Foster Wallace: the Death of the Author and the Birth of a Discipline [previously.]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 23:43  

The Howling Fantods