The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Home News by Category Interviews 1997 DFW Interview The Harvard Advocate

1997 DFW Interview The Harvard Advocate

Back in 1997 The Harvard Advocate ran Daley Haggar's Interview with David Foster Wallace and it's well worth checking out.

Love it when things like this show up! By no means is this a 'lost' interview (I even found some references to it online when checking if I had read it previously) but it's one I don't think I've read before and until now it's not been listed over at my Interviews and Audio page.

They discuss Wallace's transition from math and philosophy to fiction, his influences (Bangs, Barthelme, Coover, Puig, Pynchon among others), postmodern fiction, the 'Hot Young Author' stuff that came with Infinite Jest, authors that need more attention (Ozick, DeLillo, Scott, McCarthy), television, media culture, metafiction, irony and of course, Infinite Jest.

Most interesting is Wallace's answer to the final question about drug use in Infinite Jest:

What I wanted to do was write a book about various people who were dealing with what they give themselves away to. One of the weird things about Boston is the AA has a lot of open meetings, and you can go if you're not a member, so I went to a few of these and decided I was really interested - I've had a lot of friends in AA - I was never a drug addict, but I knew people who were and I was sort of in that world, and there was a halfway house, there in Boston, and a lot of what's in the book I picked up there.

I wanted to do something more about what it's like to quit something that's become important to you. The word addict comes from addicere which means religious devotee. When I was doing the book, one of the conclusions that I came to was that that impulse is the same, and I too know how it's very easy - to need something more important than I am to get lost in. And the strange thing is meeting people at these readings and meeting fans of the book who think this book is the best thing since sliced bread, and it's a very good book but it's not that good, and part of their impulse in thinking it's that great is the same impulse that makes people scream at rock concerts. There's this urge to say "This is good, I will love this." And I also have that in myself.


Read the full interview here.

More David Foster Wallace interviews here.

 

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Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 11:26  

The Howling Fantods