The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Melbourne Wallace Meetup - 28th Nov 2015

Location Update: A few of us will be meeting at The Victoria Hotel (215 Little Collins Street) in Vics's Bar and Pool Room from 7pm on Sat 28th Nov 2015. Last minute updates or changes via twitter @nick_maniatis (or check the sidebar on the left!) I'll tweet when I'm there. Feel free to just rock up and introduce yourself. Every single time I've met people who have read ANY David Foster Wallace has been a chilled and fine occasion. We're all good people.

If you don't know what I look like keep an eye out for the group of people including a guy with glasses near a 1st Edition Hardback of Infinite Jest. That should be obvious enough...


As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I'll be in Melbourne for the Ghost Stories, Love Stories, New Stories - AAWP 2015 DFW Panel this coming Monday 30th Nov.

A few of us will be meeting up on Saturday 28th Nov in the Melbourne CBD at around 7pm for some Wallace discussion over drinks and nibbles. If any other Melbourne Wallace enthusiasts would like to join us we'd love to meet you!

Location TBA later this week (Thurs or Friday). If you can come along (or think you might be able to) drop me a line here (or leave a comment below) and I'll make sure you get the specifics.

Hope to meet some of you on Saturday evening!

Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2015 23:03

Free on Amazon Today? The End of the Tour

I just got word via Wallace-l (thanks, John) that The End of the Tour is displaying as free for SD and HD download purchase today over at Amazon. I'm not sure how long this will last for.

I took a snap of what I can see, but when I try to process a transaction it doesn't work, even though it is listed as free. I'm guessing my Australian details are tripping it up?

Let other readers know if you have any luck in the comments below.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 01:36

Ghost Stories, Love Stories, New Stories - AAWP 2015 DFW Panel

Update: I'm all packed. Heading to Melbourne on Saturday for the meetup and to see this panel on Monday!

I can't wait for the 30th of November because I'll be in Melbourne to attend the ‘Ghost Stories, Love Stories, New Stories: Reconfiguring David Foster Wallace for the Australian Academy’ panel at the AAWP 2015 Conference - Writing the ghost train | Rewriting, remaking, rediscovering (Draft conference program here).

The panel will be moderated by Tony McMahon who you may recall from guest pieces he wrote for The Howling Fantods from Paris (where he delivered this paper) and DFW2015 in the US:


E2 Ghost stories, love stories, new stories—reconfiguring David Foster Wallace for the Australian Academy: Tony McMahon with Joshua Barnes, Mitch Cunningham, Matilda Douglas-Henry and Jonathan Laskovsky. Moderator: Tony McMahon


Panel Description:

Across the last two decades, the oeuvre of the American writer David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) has attracted significant attention in both academic and mainstream cultural circles; unique to Wallace, though, is the degree to which these two spheres overlap. Readers of Wallace’s literary work also consume scholarly assessments of it, providing a large, diverse audience for such criticism. Adam Kelly has written that, in contrast to the critical discourse on James Joyce, for example, ‘where the keys to understanding are presumed to be held by professional scholars’, the formal study of Wallace’s work ‘has begun in a more democratic vein’. While this is largely due to the influence of the Internet as a social technology, it also reflects the deep analytical and creative connections between Wallace’s texts and their readers.

Consequently, Wallace Studies has rapidly emerged as a coherent research discipline, with its own tenets, tropes and dogmas. Following his death and the publication of posthumous texts such as The Pale King (2011) and Both Flesh and Not (2012), as well as D.T. Max’s biography Every Love Story is a Ghost Story (2012), the academic pursuit of Wallace’s writing has seemed to approach consensus on matters of aesthetics, poetics and canonicity. There are, however, meaningful problems that still require attention. 

The panel responds to this need by providing a new context for the critical reading of Wallace. Through the assessment of existing discourse, it clears the ground for a refined theorisation of Wallace’s literary corpus. The panel will feature a mix of emerging and established scholars, each of whom will present rigorous new approaches to Wallace and Wallace Studies: Tony McMahon will argue for the academic consideration of Wallace within Australian academic discourse; Mitch Cunningham confronts the ambiguous subject of the ‘reader’ in Wallace’s texts; Matilda Douglas-Henry (re)reads Infinite Jest as a queer allegory, while Jonathan Laskovsky assesses the construction of fictional space in that novel; finally, Joshua Barnes’ attempts to theorise the comedic techniques employed by Wallace throughout his work.

Emphasising the creative importance of retransmitting stories through teaching and learning, the panel will comprise teachers and students—from undergraduate to PhD—each responding to the theme of ‘writing the ghost train’ by focusing on the representation of Wallace’s work to new readers, contexts and generations. Furthermore, the panel will explicitly discuss thematic stream four, ‘Refashioning the self’, with Wallace’s literary project providing the ideal environment in which to explore the effects of reconfiguring texts, retelling stories and the process of canon formation.

Panel Presenters/Topics:

Tony McMahon (moderator): Introduction: Why Wallace and Australia?

Mitch Cunningham: ‘Performing the fiction-writer’s reader: Reading the transference in David Foster Wallace’

Matilda Douglas-Henry: ‘“The Man Who Knows His Limitations Has None”: The homoeroticism in Infinite Jest’

Jonathan Laskovsky: ‘Spaces of open constraint in Infinite Jest’

Joshua Barnes: ‘David Foster Wallace, comedian: towards an aesthetics of funniness’


...and I'm hearing rumblings about an Australian DFW conference for 2016... would you be keen to join us if it got off the ground?

Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2015 22:49

Talking Books about DFW with Tim Groenland and Marshall Boswell

The first half of Newstalk radio's 23rd of November 2015 episode of Talking Books has Susan Cahill talking with Tim Groenland of Trinity College Dublin and Dr Marshall Boswell about the life, writings, and legacy of David Foster Wallace.

Absolutely worth listening to, “He was not a writer who believed in wrapping his plots up in neat little bows” – Tim Groenland - Introductory article here (Note that you might need to complete a one question Google survey to access the written piece).

Listen to the episode by clicking here.


Michael Schur on DFW in The Believer

Great interview by Stephanie Palumbo with Michael Schur in the most recent issue of The Believer which covers all manner of things including significant content about David Foster Wallace. Michael Schur is a big DFW fan who directed the Decemberists' Eschaton inspired vid clip back in in 2011 and has referenced DFW in his TV show Parks and Recreation [previously]. He also optioned the rights to Infinite Jest. Stephanie Palumbo asks him about all this and more in her interview:


BLVR: I know you’re a David Foster Wallace fan, and to me the idea of battling alienation by being kind to other people is at the core of Infinite Jest. Do you think Infinite Jest has influenced your writing?

MS: It’s not a stretch to say that it’s influenced everything I’ve ever written. I didn’t so much read it as I almost ate it. It kind of rescrambled my brain. Not just that book—I read more of him and actually met and corresponded with him for a while. One of his deeply held convictions was that sincerity should triumph over irony. He loved the gamesmanship and wordplay of the postmodern kind of irony, but his point was that, ultimately, sincerity should win the day, and the problem is that sincerity, especially for young people, is the opposite of cool. There’s nothing less cool to a twenty-five-year-old fiction writer in Brooklyn than to simply and straightforwardly talk about your feelings. The scariest possible thing that you can engage in is this very basic human connection where you say, “I feel this way,” or “I am scared,” and his worldview was: that’s what has to win; that’s how people should write; and that’s how people should connect with each other. The first time I read those words from him—and he said them a lot more eloquently than I just did—it was like someone had punched me in the face. I instantly realized so much of what was wrong with me as a writer was that I was trying to be cool and impress people and not seem like I cared about anything. It’s very hard to wear your heart on your sleeve as a writer, because we live in a world where your work is being instantly analyzed and picked apart by a lot of people, and a lot of those people are very cool, and they have a cool-guy agenda, and it’s a real fight to do it and not worry about what people are going to think of you. I am eternally grateful to Amy Poehler, because without studying the works of David Foster Wallace, she had the worldview that you have to go out there and lay it all on the line and not worry about what people think. The creation of Leslie Knope would not have been possible without her, and I don’t think it would have been possible without me reading David Foster Wallace.


Read the full interview with Michael Schur in the most recent issue of The Believer here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 00:02

Reddit's jeremy1122 and DFW

Amusing/frustrating angle in a recent piece over at The Daily Dot by Miles Klee, Bookish troll does nothing but post about David Foster Wallace for a year, about redditor, jeremy1122, who apparently posted only about David Foster Wallace on Reddit for a year:

In the 19 years since it was published, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest has gained the sort of cult status that a struggling novelist would kill for. And perhaps because it describes the bottomless black hole of instant, addicting entertainment in late-capitalist America (hello, Netflix bingers), it has enjoyed something like constant low-level virality in that time.

But because it's so long and dense and hipsterish, and was written by a man whose personal struggles have been grossly romanticized all the more following his 2008 suicide, Infinite Jest has also become a headache for people serious about literature. There's no easier way to make a bookseller roll her eyes than by thumping a copy down at the register and expecting her to be impressed—she knows you'll never get through it.

Those intrepid souls who do digest the entire opus, meanwhile, have a tendency to become obnoxious evangelizers for the text. Should someone ask if you've read it, make no mistake: They want you to say "no" so that they can extol its Byzantine style, satirical mastery, and profound insight. They want to be the one who persuades you that Wallace was a genius.

Which brings us to jeremy1122. The redditor—who did not respond to request for comment—first popped up in r/books one year ago to offer "An introduction to Infinite Jest." A trifle presumptuous, you might think: There are plenty of intros to this popular but intimidating book online.

Continue reading, Bookish troll does nothing but post about David Foster Wallace for a year.

Upcoming Publications 2016

26/11/15 Update with additional publications from David Hering and Lee Konstantinou.

Some interesting looking publications on the horizon, particularly (for me) the one due from Clare Hayes-Brady. Pretty much everything she has written about Wallace that I've read I love, hopefully we'll be able to pick up a non-academic or ebook version...


(Thanks to Dan for the updates)


Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 00:13
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