So with all the discussion today about the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Infinite Jest coming out next year, it's probably a good time to repost Steven Moore's great 2003 essay, The First Draft Version of Infinite Jest:
David Foster Wallace began working on his second novel in the fall of 1991—the outgrowth of an essay he wrote that season called “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley”—and by the fall of 1993 had completed a working draft. He made two photocopies of the manuscript, sent one to Michael Pietsch, his editor at Little, Brown, and loaned the second to a young woman whom he was trying to impress at the time (he later told me). Pietsch was enthusiastic about the manuscript but asked Wallace to consider shortening it, so Dave asked me if I’d be willing to read it and suggest cuts. (At that time we were both working in the same town, Normal, Illinois: Dave taught at Illinois State University, and I was managing editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press, located on ISU’s campus.) Dave’s plan was to compare Pietsch’s suggested cuts with mine, and accept the ones on which we both agreed. (He also explained he was planning to add more material, though.) I instantly agreed, jokingly adding the condition that I could keep the manuscript afterward. (I would have read it anyway.) Dave agreed, and on 3 December 1993 he gave me the huge manuscript. I needed both hands to support it.
Continue reading Steven Moore's essay, The First Draft Version of Infinite Jest.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2015 12:22
Has it really been almost 20 years since Infinite Jest was published!? Check out the exciting competition announcement from Little, Brown. Great opportunity, but limited to US entrants only :(
Little, Brown and Company Announces Cover Art Contest for Infinite Jest 20th Anniversary Edition.
August 13, 2015, NEW YORK, NY – It was announced today that Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, will sponsor a cover art contest for the forthcoming 20th anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Fans are invited to submit a piece of original artwork appropriate for a book cover that is inspired by the literary phenomenon Infinite Jest. Submissions will be accepted at www.davidfosterwallacebooks.com/IJ20 between August 15th and September 15th, 2015. The winning book cover is to be selected by the Wallace Literary Trust, in cooperation with David Foster Wallace’s longtime publisher Little, Brown and Company. The winner will receive an American Express® gift card for $1000 and the opportunity for his/her cover art to be featured on the 20th anniversary edition of Infinite Jest, which Back Bay Books will publish on February 23, 2016. You can see the Official Rules at www.davidfosterwallacebooks.com/IJ20 for details, and visit the book’s dedicated Tumblr link at http://infinitejest20.tumblr.com/ for periodic updates regarding the contest artwork and the book’s anniversary celebrations.
“The anniversary of a novel as influential, beloved, and enduring as Infinite Jest is cause for much celebration. To mark the twentieth anniversary, we invite the readers whose enthusiasm for and engagement with Infinite Jest has shaped the book’s legacy to share their inspiration with us, and celebrate with us in this very special way,” says Hachette CEO and the editor of Infinite Jest, Michael Pietsch.
Often considered Wallace’s greatest work, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Published in 1996 to critical and popular acclaim, and marking the confirmation of Wallace as a literary genius, the book is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Submission guidelines can be found online at www.davidfosterwallacebooks.com/IJ20. Entries will be judged on originality and creativity, relevance to the book and its impact on the literary landscape, and other criteria.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 15:46
I tweeted this morning, but it now looks like there are only standby tickets left for tonight's Melbourne, Australia, screening of The End of the Tour at the MIFF.
More info here: Melbourne International Film Festival 2015
James Ley for The Sydney Review of Books, How Does it Feel to be Famous?:
The End of the Tour is, despite all of this, pretty good – better, perhaps, than it has any right to be. It is set over the course of several days in early 1996, shortly after the publication of Wallace’s astonishing novel Infinite Jest, which generated what he described as a ‘miasma of hype’. Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a Rolling Stone reporter who is assigned to follow Wallace (Jason Segel) on the final leg of the promotional tour. He stays at Wallace’s house in Bloomington, Illinois, and travels with him to public appearances and interviews. Along the way, the pair engage in long and occasionally intense discussions, which range from the personal to the philosophical. From this emerges a character portrait and a reflection on the pressures and paradoxes of Wallace’s position.
Continue reading, How Does it Feel to be Famous?
Philippa Hawker for The Sydney Morning Herald, MIFF - The End of the Tour review: Two lives and an uneasy proximity:
What emerges most strongly is a to-and-fro between two men in uneasy proximity, engaged in a transaction whose terms are unclear, with certain things in common and a vast distance between them.
Continue reading, MIFF - The End of the Tour review: Two lives and an uneasy proximity.
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 16:04
There's an incredible amount of publicity, review and opinion swirling around The End of the Tour. I'm finding it difficult to keep up. Regardless, I've spent the past week or so watching twitter re-tweeting and saving links for a few special collections.
Thus, trying to pull together some thematic threads I'll start with a couple of articles where we hear directly from David Lipsky (author of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace).
From the Awl we get to join David Lipsky and Maria Bustillos at a screening ofThe End of the Tour where they discuss differences between the book and the film, memories of Wallace and so much more, Although of Course You End Up at the End of the Tour:
MB: So, satisfy my curiosity about this: These two guys, in what we’re seeing, in a minute’s conversation, they’re speaking maybe two percent of the actual word count that took place, I’m guessing.
DL: That’s right. That conversation over pizza, we’re talking about Tolstoy, and it was one thing I really wished had been in the movie. The challenge, he says, is: “I have received five hundred thousand discrete bits of information today, and I have to decide on the twenty-five that mean something to me.” And he’s saying that before the Internet. That was one of the things we talked about the first night that I would have loved, but I guess there wasn’t room for it.
Ponsoldt is a great director who is perfect about how people talk to each other. I could tell that he would be great for this in the same way I knew that Margulies would be great writing the script. He is able to make whole plays out of just people talking. He won the Pulitzer for Dinner With Friends, but he did this great play about artists called Sight Unseen, just two artists talking over a weekend.
Continue reading here...
And for Time, Jeff Giles interviews David Lipsky, David Lipsky on David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour:
Time: Why did you decide to turn the tapes into a book and did you have any contact with the family?
DL: I did. When Wallace died, Rolling Stone called and asked me to write about him. At first, it was too sad to think about. Then NPR called, and said that when people die by suicide, there’s always the risk of it shading how they’re remembered. One of David’s great gifts is how alive his writing feels, and it seemed that could all go gray. So I talked about him on NPR, and I wrote about how it felt to be around him for Rolling Stone. David’s family read the piece and emailed about my maybe writing something longer. They are wonderful people—as brilliant and alive as David was. I think what they hoped was that he be remembered as a real, living person. And I wanted to write a book that helped. I asked my publisher if I could pause on the other book I was writing, and because they knew it was important to me they were very nice about giving me time. I sent David’s family the manuscript before it went out to my publisher. I said I wouldn’t do it unless they liked it.
Continue with the Time interview here...
And if you'll indulge me... let's jump back in time to when I posted this little Q&A with David Lipsky here on The Howling Fantods back in March 2010:
NM: There are way more of those “singing along to REM” moments than I expected. You and I had previously spoken about how candid and open he was during your time. But I hadn’t anticipated how much it ends up being like a totally enjoyable road trip / buddy flick. Did it feel that way to you?
DL: It did, and I’m happy that’s how it felt to you, too. The main thing I wanted for the book was to give readers the experience of going on a trip with Wallace, being with him minute by minute. He was astoundingly good company. There’s a friend of his—the editor who brought him to Harper’s—who’s talking about hiking with David through Manhattan.
“Sort of gee-whizzing everything, amazed by everything. He was so much smarter than anyone, including you, and yet his attitude was, he was genuinely pleased to be wherever he was, most of the time. If he was with a congenial companion. Amazed and interested in everything. How could he write what he wrote if he wasn’t looking at everything all the time? And you got to be in his senses, so you got to see more. He’s using all six and a half senses at once, which can drive you crazy. But he shared it with us, which was nice of him to do. Talking to him was a delightful social experience, and also a literary experience.”
That’s what the trip was like. You felt charmed, lucky, and alive to be in his company—even when we were just smoking cigarettes in a doorway, making traffic complaints or joking about the safety guide on the airplane, or he was threatening that if I did a bad job with the writing, “I have twenty years to get you back.” And then he was actually very helpful about how I’d do it. He keeps switching the tape off and on, as he drafts the way he wants to describe his life. We walked into a Denny’s, I’m describing it into the recorder, and he’ll add, “High proportion of people wearing caps, too.” I was surprised Denny’s had a smoking section, and he Wallacized it: “There’s even a chain-smoking section at Denny’s.”
(One thing I hope is in the book is how funny he is. He’s talking about movies: “Tarantino is such a schmuck 90 percent of the time. But ten percent of the time, I’ve seen genius shining off the guy.” “Cameron would be making so much better movies if they gave him a seven, eight-million-dollar budget on each one. And said, you know, ‘Do your best.’”) So I’m really happy that’s the feeling you got. The book really is supposed to be you going on one trip, from start to finish. It seemed like the best way to let him tell his own story—how and why he became a writer, how he started, how everything felt. But there’s this other, softer thing, which is just getting to be around him.
And then there was the funny stuff of the trip being so hard: our airport getting snowed in; having to dash up to Chicago; having the escort in Minneapolis be so, in her way, comically weird; having to rush to the reading, driving home late, walking his two dogs. (“You get instantaneous production from the Jeevester,” he says. “Drone’s a much tougher nut.”) It wasn’t like any other experience I’d ever had, so compressed and so wide.
Continue reading here...
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 15:26
Ward Sanders' art tribute to David Foster Wallace, Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace:
One cannot read David Foster Wallace without being obsessed by images that are absurd, insane, brilliant and starkly original. While themes of boredom and mindless entertainment might seem unlikely candidates for inspiration, Wallace provides a goldmine for the visual artist. I am especially entranced by his ability to find beauty in obscure information, pointless lists, fragmented description, mundane detail and odd footnotes. His nightmarish (but often darkly hilarious) images from American culture are panoramas of a contemporary dystopia. Howling Fantods attempts to pay tribute to this alarming vision. [...]
Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace