- Infinite Jest: Mike Strong's Dubious Math in Infinite Jest, which points to possible intentional errors. (Careful, spoilers here for Infinite Summer participants)
- Everything And More: A compact history of Infinity. In November 2003 Prabhakar Ragde posted detailed errata to wallace-l for DFW's book on infinity and Georg Cantor. E&M Errata .pdf (by P. Radge, with some material from J. Ellenbeg) (More on Everything and More at the Pomona DFWWiki)
Try to leep in mind that there are a whole lot of intentional errors in IJ - and throughout DFW's writing - that explore narrator reliability.
1-5 = IJ 27-31. The novel originally began with Hal’s interview with his father disguised as a “professional conversationalist.” This makes thematic sense since Jim Incandenza’s failure to communicate with his son leads him to create the Infinite Jest cartridge, but in my report to Wallace I wrote: “this is wild & funny, but rather too much so; that is, it differs from the rest of the book so much in tone & content that it will give the reader the wrong idea of what kind of novel this is going to be.” (I suggested he begin instead with what is now IJ 200-11.) The date gave Wallace some trouble: the chapter was originally dated Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken, then changed to Trial-Size Dove Bar before settling on Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad. (Handwritten note: “Incandenza needs to suicide in Year of Dove Bar.”) Likewise with Hal’s age: Wallace originally typed: “I’ll be 14 in December,” then crossed it out and wrote 13. The first edition of the novel reads “I’ll be thirteen” (p. 27) but the paperback edition reads “I’ll be eleven.” (N.B.: Wallace made numerous corrections for the paperback edition of 1997, so that edition is the one scholars should use. Put a Mylar cover on the pretty hardback and leave it on the shelf.) Another interesting change: instead of a crisis in southern Quebec (IJ 29) Wallace originally set the crisis in Sierra Leone.
(I'm sure we had a list of these changes in a central location at one stage, I hope not on the old lost forums. Can anyone help with this?)
This has turned into a bit more of an extensive post than I originally intended. I'm not too disturbed by the fact that he made errors (and not all of them are unintnetional), but it makes for interesting consideration when it is all documented in one place. I don't think any less of DFW, the majority of his work is a clear counterpoint to all of this. Additionally, some of this stuff I'd think would be pretty difficult / painful to fact check if you were the editor of Infinite Jest (Michael Pietsch on editing DFW
; check out those exchanges!).
A more careful textual analysis of Wallace, MacDonald, and Gove might confirm or refute this hypothesis, which suggests that Wallace was guilty of the form of semi-plagiarism that consists of failing to cite the intermediate source of a quotation, and failing to check the quotation against its primary source.