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Everything and More

Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity

October 2003

David Foster Wallace's non-fiction book about infinity and Georg Cantor is a compelling, and at times, frustrating read. It is easier to follow if you have an interest/flair for mathematics. That said, there are some errors that might frustrate readers who are mathematicians - see the Errata below.



FAQ: What does the Greek text under the dedication to David Foster Wallace's mother and father say?

A: From the Boston Globe Approaching Infinity interview :

IDEAS: The Greek epigraph to "Everything and More" -- where's it from?

WALLACE: It's made up. "It is not what's inside your head, it's what your head's inside." It's a gag. I think the editor thought it was some really esoteric ancient Greek. I got a big kick out of it. It was a big deal to get him to get the diacriticals right.


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)

Links on the web:

  • The Neverending Story (in brief) over at SEED by Jordan Ellenberg. 27/6/04
  • A Sometimes Funny Book Supposedly about Infinity. An extensive PDF document review of in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society by Michael Harris. 27/6/04
  • E&M hits Slashdot Books. 30/3/04
  • Another review of E&M this time from The Sydney Morning Herald. 30/3/04
  • E&M Oregonian review:In 'skullclutching' pursuit of an understanding of infinity. Added 4/1/04
  • E&M review: History books calculate infinity, toll of violence. Added 4/1/04
  • E&M The Globe and Mail review: When good novelists do bad science . Added 4/1/04
  • review of E&M: Math meets humor for infinite wonder. 19/11/03
  • New York Times Book Review of E&M 'Everything and More': Room for One More . As per usual with NYT you'll need a login to read this for free. 15/11/03
  • Salon has an article about E&M What's bigger than a kazillion?. NOTE: This article is available through Salon premium. If you are not a Salon Premium member you can view an online ad to give you a one day pass. I think the article is well worth it. 12/11/03
  • The Christian Science Monitor reviews E&M When you get to the end, keep going. 4/11/03
  • A very positive review from From here to infinity: Germs, math, and the beauty of discovery . 30/10/03
  • Guardian Unlimited review Keep on tracking. 30/10/03
  • E&M New Scientist review. 30/10/03
  • The Village Voice E&M review Infinity, IYI. 29/10/03
  • An E&M review in The New Yorker To Infinity and Beyond. 28/10/03
  • There's an interview with DFW about E&M in the Boston Globe Approaching Infinity which includes some details about the upcoming shorts collection, Oblivion. 28/10/03
  • A brief review of E&M over at The Onion Infinite Wisdom. 28/10/03
  • There's a new streaming Audio Interview with DFW on NPR's Talk of the Nation titled 'Infinity'. Broadcast on October 13. 16/10/03
  • I've been informed that An interview of DFW by Dave Eggers will appear in the November issue of The Believer. The Believer. 16/10/03
  • Peter Ritter reviews Everything and More for Minneapolis City Pages. 15/10/03
  • Conjunctions has an exclusive extract of Everything & More. 19/9/03
  • Reproduced with permission from SEED Magazine, the final paragraph of Jordan Ellenberg's review of Everything and More.

    "Early in the book he makes a wise comment about the decontextualized nature of school math: "That we end up not even knowing that we don't know is the really insidious part of most math classes." And if Wallace fails to fully elucidate Cantor's great clarification, he succeeds in one equally important task: his readers will know how much they don't know about numbers, geometry, and infinity. Considering the intuition-bending nature of modern mathematics, that's no small achievement."

    --From Jordan Ellenberg's review of Everything and More in the Fall '03 Issue of SEED Magazine. Jordan is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. His first novel, The Grasshopper King, was recently published by Coffee House Press.

    Check out Jordan Ellenberg's page and read about his well received book, 'The Grasshopper King'.
    (Thanks Jordan and SEED!) 15/9/03
  • WIRED issue 10/03 includes a favorable review. 11/9/03
  • Poets & Writers has a brief write-up available online. 11/9/03
Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2011 20:48  

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