The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Dialectic of Sincerity: Lionel Trilling and DFW

New piece by Adam Kelly over at Post45, Dialectic of Sincerity: Lionel Trilling and David Foster Wallace:


Sincerity became for Wallace, as it had been for Trilling, one name for a new, or renewed, literary and cultural practice. And while Wallace never mentions Trilling's name in his published work, his awareness of Sincerity and Authenticity is evidenced by a handwritten note he made in a book from his personal library held at the Harry Ransom Center. Moreover, Wallace's pretentions to broad social pronouncement and his liking for cultural and conceptual history—not to mention his liberal imagination, to which I will return—all connect him closely to the figure of Trilling; we might even say that the most famous thing Wallace ever said in an interview—his declaration, made to McCaffery, that "Fiction's about what it is to be a fucking human being"—is a claim made over and over again (minus the swearword) in the humanist literary criticism Trilling wrote.22 But Wallace's overt preoccupation with irony alongside sincerity differentiates him from his forebear and marks his work as a further turn in the dialectic of sincerity. If for Trilling, in other words, the key concept that opposed sincerity was authenticity, for Wallace it was irony. This shift alters the theoretical foundations and cultural connotations of sincerity, and it is also what makes the novel—with its dialogic form and more complex relationship to ironic statement—the place where Wallace's highly developed thinking on sincerity could find its most telling manifestation.


Great stuff! Continue reading Dialectic of Sincerity: Lionel Trilling and David Foster Wallace.


Also by Adam Kelly, David Foster Wallace: the Death of the Author and the Birth of a Discipline.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 October 2014 12:29

15 Facts About Infinite Jest - mental_floss

Got a mention in this list over at mental_floss, 15 Facts About 'Infinite Jest':

2. Fantastic online Wallace compendium The Howling Fantods has Steven Moore's notes on the first draft of Infinite Jest. Moore knew Wallace when Wallace was teaching at Illinois State, and he was one of three people to see the early manuscript. He describes it as "[a] mess—a patchwork of different fonts and point sizes, with numerous handwritten corrections/additions on most pages, and paginated in a nesting pattern (e.g., p. 22 is followed by 22A-J before resuming with p. 23, which is followed by 23A-D, etc). Much of it is single-spaced, and what footnotes existed at this stage appear at the bottom of pages...Throughout there are notes in the margins, reminders to fix something or other, adjustments to chronology (which seems to have given Wallace quite a bit of trouble), even a few drawings and doodles. Merely flipping through the 4-inch-high manuscript would give even a seasoned editor the howling fantods."

Read it all over at, 15 Facts About 'Infinite Jest'

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 13:27

War as Peace: Afterlives of Nuclear War in DFW's IJ

Jessica Hurley's paper, War as Peace: Afterlives of Nuclear War in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, is available over at Worth checking out:

This subsumption of Armageddon into everyday life produces a distinct model of war in Infinite Jest , where politics and diplomacy become indistinguishable from war and violence.

DFW15 Blog - Endless Cycles

New post over at the DFW15 Conference blog - Endless Cycles.


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 11:26

Oblivion Film Funding Drive - Last Day!

With now just over a day (and me back from hols!) I've made my contribution to Francesco Marchione's funding drive for a film version of David Foster Wallace's Oblivion.

I've seen a few questions in the last week about along the lines of, "What happens if it doesn't meet the funding goal?" I asked a similar question during my interview with Francesco from earlier in the week where he answered:

"The scenes we shoot with the support from the Indiegogo campaign will allow us to show investors how we intend to complete the film and ask for completion funds, an extremely valuable tool, so this campaign will determine to a large extent how much we have to work with."

You have just over 24 hours to contribute to this exciting project, any amount you contribute will help out this project.

Oh, check out this concept art / storyboard teaser too!

Oblivion Film on Facebook

Click here to support the Oblivion Film campaign.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 October 2014 15:50

D.T. Max to Read at Ithaca College 8th Oct

Author of David Foster Wallace Biography to Read at Ithaca College:

In the spring following his death, the New Yorker Magazine published a long profile by Max, which he then expanded into a full-length biography Every Love Story is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. On Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. Max will read from this work in Klingenstein Lounge at Ithaca College. The event is free and open to the public.

See also:

David Foster Wallace Biographer Ithaca College Intercom - D.T. Max Reads Wednesday

Eventful - A Reading with D.T. Max, Biographer of David Foster Wallace in Ithaca


I Just Read About That - Bough Down

Paul Debraski reads and reviews Karen Green's Bough Down [Previously] for I Just Read About That...:

This is a powerful and affecting collection of poems/stories.  Green is so exposed in her pain.  I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it.

Readers who know who her husband was may be tempted to think they “get” the man more from this, or that this “confirms” things that we think we knew about him.  But honestly, whatever we may try to read into these poems, the reality is that these are intensely personal, containing things that only Green knew about him.  At first I tried to read them as a kind of biography of “him,” but I soon realized that they are more interesting as a biography of her.

These poems are powerful whether he  is known or not.

Read it all here.

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