The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Lipsky Comp Winners

The time has come to announce the winners. I whittled the entries down to a shortlist of 16 for David Lipsky to pick the final six. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to pick just six.
 
I'm happy to announce the winners of four signed copies and six unsigned copies of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.
 
Now over to David Lipsky:
 
The Howling Fantods is a terrific site.  Also a terrific sight, a font I know in my bones, one of my first morning stations for more than a decade, a place where I’ve read hundreds of things about DFW, and I know I’m not the only one that’s true for.  (You’d walk down the Rolling Stone corridors and have somebody say, “Did you see—Steve Moore has a great thing about the last draft of Infinite Jest on Fantods”: “There’s a story from Amherst up on the Fantods”; certain excited friends’ sentences you’d just know, about halfway through, were going to end with those two words—“on Fantods.”) It’s a community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the excellence of the submissions for the contest Nick Maniatis very flatteringly ran about the broad and strange variety of locations people have found to curl up in with Infinite Jest.

So excellent that I wasn’t able to pick just one best essay.  Nick is going to send six writers copies of the book I did about five days with David (a mixed reward: you win 340 pages of extra reading); but when it came time to pick one writer who’d get a signed edition (doubly mixed; 340 pages plus a messy signature), I couldn’t do it.  Instead, I checked in with Nick, and then picked four.

I learned a tremendous amount from these essays: it was like looking at an old steamer trunk, finding the oddest travel stickers stamped on the front and back.  Infinite Jest is its own full world; it’s also headed nearly everywhere in ours. I read about the Incandenzas being studied in a London Underground lavatory under terrible digestive pressure; the Enfield Tennis Academy traveling through Norway and Lebanon and Peru; Ennett house being visited in hospital waiting rooms and en route to twelve-step programs, the Office of Unspecified Services getting an inspection in a moving car, one of whose wheels had just rolled away. (“There’s something about the first read having taken place in the early mornings or late afternoons,” this writer explained, “while traveling at high speeds with next to no light.” He has a great, Wallaceian name - Ryan Amfahr Longhorn.)  They reminded me of something DFW said, about how really good writing can compel you in a way nearly nothing else can.  “That kind of stomach magic of, ‘God damn, it’s fun to read. I’d rather read right now than eat.’”

So Tom McCarthy (Lebanon and nearly everywhere), Brooks Williams (hid the novel in a hotel armoire between successive visits), Ryan Longhorn (automobile trouble) and Tyler Jones get the mixed benefit of signed copies.  (Tyler Jones wrote a lovely, wrenching essay about the book spelling him at the hospital.  “I know that some people read for escapism, a category in which I don’t believe Infinite Jest falls, however I became immersed in the world presented… There was something comforting about an author willing to confront the uncertain in life, the random and tragic.”)  Josh W., Liz, Noelia Mendoza, Caetano Galinda, Jan-Erik, Mtte will receive the others. It was a very nice idea, this information swap: Nick and I got to read where people have read DFW’s work, these writers will see the many parts of his world—classrooms, cars, malls, dog-walks—where David discussed it.

I was flattered and thrilled to read all these submissions, and I’d like to thank everyone who participated. None of the entries were anything less than terrific fun to read. Even more, they reminded me of an important thing and warmed me—left me grateful to be part of the community that David Wallace has made.
 
-David Lipsky
 

 
Big thanks to Broadway Books for the prizes (special thanks to Julie) and to David Lipsky for all his help picking the winners.
 
Signed copies go to:
Tom McCarthy
Brooks Williams
Ryan Longhorn
Tyler Jones
 
And the recipients of the unsigned copies are:
 
Josh W.
Liz L.
Noelia M.
Caetano G.
Jan-Erik A.
Mtte
 
[I'll be in contact with the winners by email ASAP]
 
Read their entries after the jump:
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Last Updated on Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:05
 

Vulture Reading Room on DFW

Sam Anderson, D.T. Max, Jason Kottke and Laura Miller are discussing DFW and David Lipsky's book at length over at the New York Mag Vulture Reading Room. Plenty of scope for this to pan out into a very interesting discussion.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 17:45
 

1996 Details Profile

As a result of reading Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, Craig Fehrman tracked down David Streitfeld's Details Profile The Wasted Land and has posted the transcript online.
 
(Thanks, Craig)
 
 
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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2010 20:20
 

Oblivion Story as Spanish Graphic Novel

Matt Bucher posted on his twitter feed (heya, Matt!) about a Graphic Novel adaptation of David Foster Wallace's short story, Oblivion (from the collection of the same name).
 
Google translation:
Our collaborator Jorge Flores-Oliver, Blumpi, has undertaken an interesting exercise: the graphic adaptation of one of the most mature and perhaps less accessible-by David Foster Wallace, the story Extinction (Oblivion) that gave him title to his collection Short Stories 2004. The text captures the painful breakdown of a relationship through the extremely sensitive apology from a man who believes or suspects that his wife hallucinates the sound of his snoring. In this space we will raise some of their progress in this endeavor. Over Blumpi at this address: blumpi.wordpress.com
 
Awkward Update: Looks like it wasn't official, there's been a takedown.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 17:20
 

Washington Monthly and New Dork Reviews

 
Michael O’Donnell for Washington Monthly, Infinite Regret:
 
It has become a commonplace in the literary community to call Wallace a genius. This seems to occur in part because he won a MacArthur "genius" grant, which many writers covet, and in part because he wrote about math, which many writers fear. Mostly, though, the plaudit stuck because Wallace was smart and articulate and had the enviable quality of finding everything interesting. But in truth, his appeal lies more in his honesty than his intellect; it is less that his observations were profound than that others lacked the self-scrutiny or courage to voice them. Throughout the road trip, Wallace spoke with disarming candor about difficult issues: a suicide scare in college, an almost crippling fear of how others perceived him, difficulty finding love. No contemporary writer discussed despair and loneliness with such frankness.
 
Greg Zimmerman's review for The New Dork Review of Books:
 
DFW was hyper self-aware, but also almost painfully shy and self-conscious and always self-deprecating — Almost every important answer DFW gives is couched with a sort of disclaimer that he's aware how what he's saying could be misinterpreted in print.
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Comp Now Closed for Entries

The competition is closed for entries. Now for the difficult part... picking the winners from so many great submissions.
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Circled Words Mapped to Infinite Jest

Don has considered the words David Foster Wallace circled in his American Heritage Dictionary [previously] and made a list of which ones are in Infinite Jest and noted where they appear in the text. Nice work.
 
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Last Updated on Sunday, 02 May 2010 19:15
 



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