New Here?
     
Posts tagged "David Foster Wallace"

Another Week Ends: Exceptional Children, Holiness Holes, AA Slogans, Reformation Sincerity, Online Niceness, Grateful Dead, Aimee Mann and Seinfeld-ized Game of Thrones

Another Week Ends: Exceptional Children, Holiness Holes, AA Slogans, Reformation Sincerity, Online Niceness, Grateful Dead, Aimee Mann and Seinfeld-ized Game of Thrones

1. An encouraging number of signs of life in the bibliosphere this week. First, over at The New Statesman, much to my surprise (and much to his credit), renowned atheist Alain de Botton selected Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense as his favorite book of the year. For a profound little excerpt from the book, go here. Can’t wait for it to come out in the States. Second, there’s the arresting depth of understanding and engagement in From Exile, Grow Man’s review of PZ’s Grace in Practice. Probably the most honest review I’ve…

Read More > > >

On the Comfort of Bad Books; or, What You and David Foster Wallace Have in Common

On the Comfort of Bad Books; or, What You and David Foster Wallace Have in Common

How does David Foster Wallace pass the time during a 1600-mile trip across America? With a Dean Koontz novel, of course. The Rumpus, a site for literary commentary, recently published an unsettling little article on “The Comfort of Bad Books”, exploring the attraction and validity of bad books. Way more of us than we’d care to admit have spent hours upon hours with supposedly lowbrow or ‘pop’ books, along the lines of Koontz or Danielle Steel or James Patterson, and all of us are secretly thrilled by the plots, ashamed at how quickly and wholly we absorb ourselves in them,…

Read More > > >

David Foster Wallace on Love, Identity and the Numbness of Achievement

David Foster Wallace on Love, Identity and the Numbness of Achievement

From the modern bard’s short story collection, Oblivion, specifically the beginning to the stream of consciousness tour-de-force, “Good Old Neon”, ht DJ:

My whole life I’ve been a fraud.  I’m not exaggerating.  Pretty much all I’ve ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people.  Mostly to be liked or admired.  It’s a little more complicated than that, maybe.  But when you come right down to it it’s to be liked, loved. Admired, approved of, applauded, whatever.  You get the idea.  I did well in school, but deep down the whole thing’s motive wasn’t to learn or improve myself but just to…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Incarnational Kerouac, Lutheran Austerity, Dream Identities, Rev, Arrested Development, Mormon Sci Fi, Foodie Piety and Daytrotter

Another Week Ends: Incarnational Kerouac, Lutheran Austerity, Dream Identities, Rev, Arrested Development, Mormon Sci Fi, Foodie Piety and Daytrotter

1. Newsweek published an excerpt of D.T. Max’s forthcoming Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace and what an excerpt! It concerns Wallace’s relationship with Mary Karr, and the genus of Infinite Jest. Almost enough to dispel the reservations we voiced earlier this week. It also makes for a great lead-in to another literary find, the blog for The Library of America’ amazing interview with Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell, the editor of the forthcoming Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems. Asked why she thinks Kerouac’s poems still speak to us, she gave the following (jaw-dropping) answer, which gets…

Read More > > >

David Foster Wallace Went to Church Constantly?

David Foster Wallace Went to Church Constantly?

The next few months are shaping up to be eventful and exciting ones for devotees of David Foster Wallace. At the end of August the first major biography of Wallace, D.T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, hits the shelves. And then in November, a long-awaited volume of uncollected essays arrives, Both Flesh and Not. Can you say “pre-ordered”?! Well, last week blogger Daniel Silliman posted an eye-catching report on a recent panel given at the UT Austin Wallace archives that included the biographer in question, Mr. Max. According to Mr. Silliman, there is reason to believe that…

Read More > > >

“The Way of People” from DFW’s The Pale King

“The Way of People” from DFW’s The Pale King

The fifth effect has more to do with you, how you’re perceived. It’s powerful although its use is more restricted.  Pay attention, boy. The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know…

Read More > > >

Jonathan Franzen on Influence, Connection, and Kafka (not to mention Intimacy, Control and David Foster Wallace)

Jonathan Franzen on Influence, Connection, and Kafka (not to mention Intimacy, Control and David Foster Wallace)

Piggybacking off of Ethan’s wonderful post on The Art of Fielding, here are two phenomenal quotes from Jonathan Franzen’s recent collection of non-fiction, Farther Away. The first comes from a lecture he gave “On Autobiographical Fiction” in which he tackles the four questions writers dread most, the first of which is the question of influences:

It would be somewhat more meaningful to say that I was influenced by Franz Kafka. By this I mean that it was Kafka’s novel The Trial, as taught by the best literature professor I ever had, that opened my eyes to the greatness of what literature can…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: DFW50, Simpsons 500, Ira Talks Radiolab, Rowling Talks New Novel, Helpless Women, Helpless Kids, Lenten Identity, Cormac McCarthy Pictionary

Another Week Ends: DFW50, Simpsons 500, Ira Talks Radiolab, Rowling Talks New Novel, Helpless Women, Helpless Kids, Lenten Identity, Cormac McCarthy Pictionary

All the best wishes for those mockingbirds at the Liberate Conference in Fort Lauderdale this weekend, including our very own David Zahl.

1. Along with the rest of the blogosphere this week, we wish David Foster Wallace a happy 50th birthday. There’s too many blessings to recount, but the web has exploded with numerous avenues for you to get your feet wet or soul soaked. Take a look at The Awl’s “46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday,” a piece of which includes an 86-minute interview with German TV ZDF, the first of which you’ll find…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: More Linsanity, IMonk Grace, TechnoSabbaths, Defending Nic Cage, DFW on Corrosive Illusions, Cougarton Abbey and GNR Rumors

Another Week Ends: More Linsanity, IMonk Grace, TechnoSabbaths, Defending Nic Cage, DFW on Corrosive Illusions, Cougarton Abbey and GNR Rumors

1. Just in case you haven’t overdosed on Linsanity yet, David Brooks offers a sympathetic big-picture perspective in his column in The NY Times, highlighting how the culture of achievement and glory in professional sports conflicts with ethical framework espoused by most of the major religious traditions. Some will certainly say that Brooks going overboard, but I’m not so sure. Of course, there are plenty of valid, non-religious ways to rationalize competition, but attempts to do so on the basis of Christianity have always struck this blogger as particularly unconvincing, ht TB:

The moral ethos of sport is in tension with…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Joseph Mills, Commitment Devices, Anxiety Rights, Bible Rescue, Imposter Syndrome, Hitch on Chesterton, Elmer Bernstein and Liz Lemon

Another Week Ends: Joseph Mills, Commitment Devices, Anxiety Rights, Bible Rescue, Imposter Syndrome, Hitch on Chesterton, Elmer Bernstein and Liz Lemon

1. One of the many things to adore about David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is the cover (of the US edition). The collage manages to capture the torrential intellect at the heart of that wonderful collection without losing the humor. But it wasn’t until this past week that I knew anything about its designer, photographer/artist/pumpkin farmer Joseph Mills. The Washington City Paper did a feature on him back in 2003 in conjunction with an exhibit at the Corcoran, and Joseph’s words–and personal history with psychosis and depression–pack quite a punch, ht SJ:

When asked about…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Deadly Doing, Horton on Incarnation, Epic Fantasy Appeal, Schizophrenic Hope, DFW Syllabi, Nice Guys, George Harrison and Superman

Another Week Ends: Deadly Doing, Horton on Incarnation, Epic Fantasy Appeal, Schizophrenic Hope, DFW Syllabi, Nice Guys, George Harrison and Superman

1. Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish produced a stirring little meditation earlier this week which brought together two of our favorites, philosopher Michael Oakeshott and social psychologist Daniel Kahneman, under the dynamo Oakeshott-inspired title “The Deadliness of Doing.” He speaks about Oakeshott’s lifelong project of trying to recover was a way of doing things which was as unselfconscious as possible. It’s not terribly different from the dynamic described in Tullian Tchividjian’s book we reviewed earlier this week, that true spiritual progress consists in being liberated from self-reference as much as possible, i.e. becoming less fixated on the me-centered notion…

Read More > > >

As Though There Were Only One Real Kind: Reviewing David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King

As Though There Were Only One Real Kind: Reviewing David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King

Modern Reformation was kind enough to publish my review of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King in their recent issue. Some of the material will be familiar to those who read this site, but most of it is fresh and intentionally geared toward those who haven’t read Wallace. Needless to say, if you’re not subscribing to Mod Ref, do yourself a favor.

The temptation in reviewing The Pale King is not to review The Pale King. And can you blame a person? How do you review an unfinished work? The answer is that you comment on the book’s importance rather than…

Read More > > >