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Home News by Category General Updates Infinite Winter's Interview with Michael Pietsch

Infinite Winter's Interview with Michael Pietsch

Check out this excellent crowd sourced interview with Michael Pietsch to coincide with the Infinite Winter read:


I’m curious about the number of editions, translations, and total copies sold of Infinite Jest in the twenty years since its publication. Given that these numbers are probably not insignificant, and that scholarly interest in Wallace has been exploding over the past few years, is there any possibility of producing an unexpurgated “writer’s cut” Infinite Jest with all of the material that was cut from the original version? (The D.T. Max bio said they cut 250,000 words or so to get it to the 550,000 published). Was there any talk of including some of the cut material in this anniversary edition? Or maybe as some sort of electronic book extra?

Infinite Jest has been published in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, with translations forthcoming in Russia, Poland and Hungary. Worldwide sales exceed one million copies.

I don’t know where Mr. Max got his estimate of the number of pages David cut in the editing process, but 250,000 words strikes me as wildly overstated. My own memory is that around 150 pages were cut. David put a lot of words on a manuscript page, so call it 75,000 words. Perhaps David cut many more draft pages before sending it to me. I recall him saying in interviews that 250-300 pages were cut, and it struck me at the time that he might have been exaggerating for effect.

For this twentieth anniversary edition, with the approval of the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust, we reviewed the collection of David’s papers at the Ransom Center to see if there were any sections that he had removed in the editing process that might be included in an Afterword. There are no such sections in the collection. At the end of the publication, we returned the draft manuscript to David, as was standard practice, and he doesn’t appear to have kept it. (This was still in the days of Xerox copying, long before email attachments and Track Changes and version control.) This doesn’t trouble me. The cuts David made were all intentional–the version we have is the version he wanted, not something imposed on him. It is the Writer’s Cut. Reading some Deleted Scenes would be fun, but I don’t believe they would add to our understanding of the novel.


Continue reading the interview here.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:30  

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