Today I send my thoughts to David Foster Wallace's family, friends and co-workers. The people closest to him.
Sometimes it feels like I knew him. Most of that is thanks to the research, narratives, recollections, memories, publications and generosity of people moved by, interested in, and close to David Foster Wallace. But I didn't know him.
It's this feeling of knowing him that many of his readers share. He got inside our heads and taught us a new way to see, interpret, and understand the world. He shared with us what he knew about dealing with difficulties in life:
"That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable." Infinite Jest, p 204.
For the last month or so it's been my mantra. It's working so far.
David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008)
In this post I intend to go back to the roots of this website, a love for David Foster Wallace's writing and for critical writing about it.
And with that I present one of the most amazing pieces of work about Infinite Jest, John Timothy Jacobs' Doctoral Thesis, "The Eschatological Imagination: Mediating David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest" (2003). (Packed with spoilers, beware if you've not read Infinite Jest)
Have you wondered about the wraith's presence in Infinite Jest? Who is the narrator? What to the little circles throughout the text possibly mean?
This thesis presents three interpretations of Infinite Jest:
a) Wallace's aesthetic compared with the aesthetic of the poet, G.M. Hopkins.
b) The concept of mediation and exploring the subtext of the return of the dead author-the novel operates, in part, as a rejoinder to the death-of-the-author critical impasse.
c) Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Wallace has rewritten (or reimagined) Dostoevsky's novel and translated it into a contemporary context and idiom as a remedy for postmodern American solipsism.
When I first read this thesis it blew my mind.
I hope it does the same for you.
Enjoy and remember.
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