In Lorna Koski's, The Full Harold Bloom, (WWD Eye Scoop), Bloom is asked about David Foster Wallace:
It’s all a clear indication, Bloom notes, of the decline of literary standards. He was upset in 2003 when the National Book Award gave a special award to Stephen King. “But Stephen King is Cervantes compared with David Foster Wallace. We have no standards left. [Wallace] seems to have been a very sincere and troubled person, but that doesn’t mean I have to endure reading him. I even resented the use of the term from Shakespeare, when Hamlet calls the king’s jester Yorick, ‘a fellow of infinite jest.’
“It’s sort of a dark time. Imaginative energy I think is very difficult to summon up when there are so many distractions. There’s a kind of Grisham’s law [in literature]; the bad drives out the good.”
I'm more than a little surprised by this. In my experience even readers who have read Wallace and not particularly enjoyed his writing wouldn't respond with, "He can’t think, he can’t write. There’s no discernible talent." Which leaves me wondering if Bloom has actually read Wallace at all. He doesn't see any continuation/development/growth/exploration beyond the also mentioned Pynchon, Roth, McCarthy and DeLillo?
*shrug* Each to their own, I guess.
I just hope this doesn't become the kind of flippant crititque without argument that sticks.
A recent thread over at the Wallace listserv brought up this Infinite Jest endnote:
366 Sounding rather suspiciously like Professor H. Bloom's turgid studies of artistic influenza — though it's unclear how either Flood- or dead-ancestor discussions have any connection to S. Peterson's low-budget classic The Cage, which is mostly about a peripatetic eyeball rolling around, other than the fact that J. O. Incandenza loved this film and stuck little snippets of it or references to it just about anywhere he could; maybe the 'disjunction' or 'disconnection' between the screen's film and Ph.D.'s scholastic discussion of art is part of the point.a
a. (Which of course assumes there's a point.)
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