The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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DFW 2015: Call for Papers

It really is a golden time for Wallace scholarship! I've still got some more reports, photos, and presentations to post about last weekend's Infinite Wallace 2014 Conference in Paris to come over the next week or so, but until then... how about a call for papers and presentation of original work for The Second Annual David Foster Wallace Conference? Once again being held at Illinois State University, May 28th and 29th, 2015.

The Keynote speaker is Dr. Stephen J. Burn (David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, Second Edition: A Reader's Guide, Conversations with David Foster Wallace)

For the last four years, Burn has been working with the David Foster Wallace literary estate to produce an edited volume of Wallace’s letters. This volume is not intended to be a biography in letters, but rather a biography of Wallace’s writing: charting his reflections on his own writing; documenting his reading; mapping his changing intellectual investments; and sharing some of the virtuoso linguistic performances he saved for his letters. In this keynote, Burn will discuss the scope of Wallace’s letters, asking how the letters enhance or complicate our understanding of Wallace’s work, and how they help us understand Wallace’s place amongst contemporary American writers.​​

DFW 2015 ISU Website

DFW 2015 Facebook page

Call for Papers and Presentations of Original Work direct .pdf link

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 13:39

Erasing Infinite Jest: Five Poetic Approaches

Forgot I had this bookmarked! Check out this interesting article by Jenni B. Baker revealing some of the creative processes behind Erasing Infinite. (Here's my interview with Jenni from Aug '14)

Erasing Infinite Jest: Five Poetic Approaches:


Knowing how to erase the text is just the first step in the process — the bigger challenge comes in when I’m forced to “find” new poems in each page of Wallace’s novel, ones that aren’t simply distillations of the original text but which reinterpret, respond or react to it in new ways.

In an early iteration of this project, I attempted to craft poems from entire sections of the text at a time. This approach ultimately failed; I found myself reading the text and writing poems whose topics and tone were too close to those in the novel. I have to work one page at a time, removing each page’s contents from the book’s broader context, in order to divorce myself from the literal subject matter.
Once I’ve isolated a page for erasing, I usually apply one of five approaches to arrive at the final poem.


Continue reading...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 13:12

Jason Segel's 6 Favorite Books

Via The Week, Jason Segel's 6 Favorite Books:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Back Bay, $18). I had the honor of playing David Foster Wallace in an upcoming film. I feel that Infinite Jest did a real service to humanity in an age where you're told to sit and accept television and advertising. Wallace makes you work for satisfaction. As you trudge through the difficult sections and progress through the book, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. It changed my life and my relationship to reading.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 11:42

Why Lawyers Love David Foster Wallace

Tamara Tabo writes for Above The Law, On The Anniversary Of His Death: Why Lawyers Love David Foster Wallace:


David Foster Wallace was a lawyer’s writer, if ever one could use that label without intending insult. DFW was not a lawyer, though he famously became friends and collaborators with legal writing expert Bryan Garner. Garner’s co-author Justice Antonin Scalia is also said to be a fan. Countless attorneys who haven’t cracked a novel in years will brighten at the mention of DFW. Analytical, language-obsessed, and neurotic, he may have captured the modus operandi of many lawyers as well as any novelist or essayist could.


Continue reading...


What are you doing on this side of the dark?

Facedown by Mary Karr in the Sep 22 issue of The New Yorker [via @marykarrlit]


Seven New Directions for Wallace Studies

Seven New Directions for Wallace Studies (Infinite Wallace 2014 Day 3)

Photo - T. McMahon

-Ariane Mak

At the end of this thrilling three day conference, seven new directions seem to have emerged in the study of David Foster Wallace’s work, whether sketched during the conference or called for. Tony’s brilliant post started to evoke some of them, and today’s concluding discussion have pointed towards more stimulating new avenues for Wallace scholarship.

1. As already mentioned, the scope of Wallace studies have clearly broadened and are deeply connected with new explorations of DFW’s nonfiction work, particularly Signifying Rappers and Everything and More

2. Adam Kelly pointed the potential of the opposite process, asking what Wallace has to say and bring to other disciplines (what Wallace has to say to Buddhism, etc.).

3. The archives at the Harry Ransom Centre have been a crucial step in opening up Wallace studies. As Lee Konstantinou highlighted, they allow for an analysis of the process of thought in DFW’s works, and are particularly vital in relations with The Pale King.

4. Mary Holland addressed the possibility for Wallace scholars today to examine the limits of DFW’s works.

5. She remarked on the curious absence of any thorough analysis of DFW’s work in terms of race, class and gender.

6. Mary Holland also suggested that the affect dimension might be particularly fruitful to Wallace studies.

7. Finally, Ralph Clare pointed at the interest of analysing DFW’s work in relation to animal studies.

During the conference, Adam Kelly addressed the conception of Wallace studies as group mind undertaking a collective work towards a better understanding of David Foster Wallace and his work. There is no doubt that the Paris conference revealed promising new horizons to this community of readers and Wallace scholars.

-Ariane Mak

(Point 1. Updated 15/9/14)

Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 12:26

Wallace Scholarship: The Second Wave?

Wallace Scholarship: The Second Wave? (Infinite Wallace 2014 Day 3)

-Tony McMahon.

As you may be aware, the Infinite Wallace conference changed location for its final day. Apparently, some philosopher strangled his wife in this place, but I haven't been able to confirm the veracity or otherwise of this just yet.

And don't worry, a strongly worded letter to the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University is being drafted as we blog, expressing my bemusement at how exactly I'm expected to work in such conditions.

In a remarkable and moving address that closed the Infinite Wallace Conference, Adam Kelly today spoke of Wallace scholarship as a group mind. Kelly then went on to make what amounted to a call for an expansion of this mind by suggesting that new avenues for exploration of Wallace – many of them proposed by the conference speakers themselves – signalled an exciting and dynamic future for the discipline.

Without disparaging in the slightest the fine work that has been done so far, Kelly acknowledged – pretty much – that the times they were a-changin’. The upcoming dialogue, he appeared to intimate, between established Wallace scholarship and new voices, would make for a rich and innovative discourse.

Kelly’s talk was preceded by one from Mary K Holland, who made the sorely needed point that issues surrounding Wallace and gender had been spectacularly under-examined by Wallace scholars in the past and, well, sorry, but this, sadly, continues to be the case.

Holland appeared slightly ill at ease making this point in a largely male setting, but this reporter, for one, thought she was spot on in her appraisal of what is – let’s not mince words here – a wildly imbalanced state of affairs.

And Ralph Clare’s talk, on neuro atypical characterisations in Wallace’s work, further underlined that differing or under represented approaches to familiar subjects can often bear the most interesting fruit.

This prompted questions on the idea of reading Wallace through the lenses of race, queerness, whiteness studies and continental philosophy, exciting developments indeed for a room dominated by white, male voices.

As Kelly remarked: “I think it would be really exciting to hear what Queer Theory, for example, might have to say to Wallace Studies, and vice versa.”

It’s probably too early to be calling this the second wave of Wallace scholarship, and your reporter will openly admit that, well, he’s been out at the post-conference dinner and, yeah, got on the piss maybe a little more that he should have and possibly is getting slightly excited and all that.

Perhaps the second wave hasn’t started, not just yet. If you look closely, though, there seems to be little doubt that the water is definitely on the rise.

-Tony McMahon


Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 02:57

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