The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Wallace Audio and Reader Due in 2014!

Looks like it is going to be a busy year!

David Foster Wallace: In His Own Words. (Pre-order via Amazon). Audio CD (May 20, 2014). First I've heard of it [Thanks, Brian!]. Hachette Book Group page.

Then I noticed this...


On Tennis: Five Essays (Amazon) Electronic book and Audiobook (June 24, 2014). Hachette Book Group page.

David Foster Wallace's extraordinary writing on tennis, collected for the first time in an exclusive digital-original edition.

A "long-time rabid fan of tennis," and a regionally ranked tennis player in his youth, David Foster Wallace wrote about the game like no one else. ON TENNIS presents David Foster Wallace's five essays on the sport, published between 1990 and 2006, and hailed as some of the greatest and most innovative sports writing of our time.

This lively and entertaining collection begins with Wallace's own experience as a prodigious tennis player ("Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley"). He also challenges the sports memoir genre ("How Tracy Austen Broke My Heart"), takes us to the US Open ("Democracy and Commerce at the U.S. Open"), and profiles of two of the world's greatest tennis players ("Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff About Choice, Freedom, Limitation, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" and "Federer Both Flesh and Not"). With infectious enthusiasm and enormous heart, Wallace's writing shows us the beauty, complexity, and brilliance of the game he loved best.

And then finally this...


The David Foster Wallace Reader. Hardcover book, Electronic book, Audiobook (November 11, 2014). Hachette Book Group page.

The David Foster Wallace Reader is a compilation from one of the most original writers of our age, featuring selections of his brilliant fiction and nonfiction. For new readers, this is an accessible introduction to the pleasures of reading Wallace; for fans, a must-have best-of; and for teachers, an invaluable tool.

Astounding chapters from the novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King are here, along with legendary stories including "The Depressed Person," "Good Old Neon," and his previously uncollected first story. This collection also features Wallace's essays delving into luxury ("A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"), morality ("Consider the Lobster"), sports ("Roger Federer Both Flesh and Not"), literature, and the deep paradoxes of American life, plus reading lists from his life as a teacher.



Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 22:12

ISU DFW Conference Accepted Proposals

The accepted proposals for the ISU David Foster Wallace conference have been announced. Looks to be a great mix of papers and original creative work.

Conference registration info here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 21:56

Upcoming 2014 Collections

It's shaping up to be another great year for Wallace criticism!

"Asked in 2006 about the philosophical nature of his fiction, the late American writer David Foster Wallace replied, "If some people read my fiction and see it as fundamentally about philosophical ideas, what it probably means is that these are pieces where the characters are not as alive and interesting as I meant them to be."

Gesturing Toward Reality looks into this quality of Wallace's work—when the writer dons the philosopher's cap—and sees something else. With essays offering a careful perusal of Wallace's extensive and heavily annotated self-help library, re-considerations of Wittgenstein's influence on his fiction, and serious explorations into the moral and spiritual landscape where Wallace lived and wrote, this collection offers a perspective on Wallace that even he was not always ready to see. Since so much has been said in specifically literary circles about Wallace's philosophical acumen, it seems natural to have those with an interest in both philosophy and Wallace's writing address how these two areas come together."

Of the twelve books David Foster Wallace published both during his lifetime and posthumously, only three were novels. Nevertheless, Wallace always thought of himself primarily as a novelist. From his college years at Amherst, when he wrote his first novel as part of a creative honors thesis, to his final days, Wallace was buried in a novel project, which he often referred to as "the Long Thing." Meanwhile, the short stories and journalistic assignments he worked on during those years he characterized as "playing hooky from a certain Larger Thing." Wallace was also a specific kind of novelist, devoted to producing a specific kind of novel, namely the omnivorous, culture-consuming "encyclopedic" novel, as described in 1976 by Edward Mendelson in a ground-breaking essay on Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

David Foster Wallace and "The Long Thing" is a state-of-the art guide through Wallace's three major works, including the generation-defining Infinite Jest. These essays provide fresh new readings of each of Wallace's novels as well as thematic essays that trace out patterns and connections across the three works. Most importantly, the collection includes six chapters on Wallace's unfinished novel, The Pale King, that will prove to be foundational for future scholars of this important text.



May DFW Conference CFP Extension

Update: The call for papers submission deadline has been extended until Sun March 23 at Noon. Get those proposals in!


Download the updated call for papers for Illinois State University's First Annual David Foster Wallace Conference. Friday, May 23, 2014 at The Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference  Center, 201 Broadway Street, Normal, Illinois 61761.



Featured presenters may be selected from early submissions.

Submissions will be considered in three categories: Scholarship of David Foster Wallace; Scholarship of Contemporary Literature, Publishing, or Culture that considers issues including, but not limited to: innovative/experimental literature; the future of literature and/or publishing; digital vs. traditional publishing/literature; the field of publishing in relation to contemporary literature and/or culture; literature, publishing, or scholarship as art; etc.; and the presentation of Original Creative Work exemplified by any of the above issues and/or that engages its subject from an original, committed, and human perspective.


Download the updated call for papers now.


Registration for the conference is now open


[Thanks Jane and Shelly]


Jason Segel as DFW

Update: More pics

[Via mlive]


Browsing Reddit when I discovered this pic posted of Jason Segel apparently as DFW for The End of the Tour which is currently filming in Grand Rapids:

[via Peanutkid over at Reddit]

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 01:25

DFW Notebooks - 2014 Whitney Museum Biennial

Last year it was announced that David Foster Wallace would "be recognized posthumously" at the 2014 Whitney Museum Biennial. Here are some collected bits and pieces about the Wallace notebooks on display.

The New York Times - A Guide to the 2014 Whitney Museum Biennial:

The “Midwesternism” notebook, from “The Pale King” materials by David Foster Wallace.

"Also on view are the spiral notebooks with sketches that the writer David Foster Wallace kept while researching “The Pale King,” his last novel. (His biographer, D. T. Max, called them “an improvised bulletin board.”)"

[via A Guide to the 2014 Whitney Museum Biennial]


Hyperallergic - Whitney Biennial 2014: Michelle Grabner on the Fourth Floor:

A view of the display of various notebooks and materials by David Foster Wallace.

Detail of David Foster Wallace’s “Interview notes for ‘Federer as Religious Experience’ (New York Times, August 20, 2006)” (nd), two-page manuscript.

"If Grabner’s decision to include rather lackluster notebooks of author David Foster Wallace seemed odd, her general exploration of who is an artist nowadays was quite fascinating. Do Wallace’s scribblings offer us a largely ignored visual dimension to his writings or are they simply the relics of his literary output?"

[via Whitney Biennial 2014: Michelle Grabner on the Fourth Floor]


Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 08:44

Ethos - Infinite Jest

In December 2013 John McGowan asked Ethos readers, What Am I Missing?: Infinite Jest and Its Cult Following. He had finally finished Infinite Jest, but did not experience the pleasure that many readers experience while reading the novel. It's interesting in that it is such a different reading to mine. I keep finding things to love about it after all these years (and that's not because I've refused to read anything by any other author... far from it!). There are a few detailed, passionate and articulate responses in the comments at the end. Have a look.

Three months later David Andrew Tow has responded with, Missing the Point is Part of It: An Apologia for Infinite Jest:


Recently on Ethos, John McGowan wrote a fair and well-reasoned indictment of Wallace’s opus. In sum, it is an overwrought, hostile, meandering, self-serious, and deliberately disorganized novel whose “pieces,” McGowan writes, “are far more than the whole.” These complaints, and the half-dozen others often leveled at Wallace, hold water. Infinite Jest has problems. And yet, despite these objections and criticisms, Infinite Jest is still a work of art, functions as one, and does so because of, not despite, its problems.


I just don't see that the complaints in McGowan's piece are problems in the first place.

Continue reading over at Ethos, What Am I Missing?: Infinite Jest and Its Cult Following and Missing the Point is Part of It: An Apologia for Infinite Jest.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 21:18

The Howling Fantods