David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97
It's great reading multiple reports about this event:
Martin Schneider's report over at emdashes.com, James Wood Tackles David Foster Wallace (Figuratively). (Cheers, Martin)
Edward Champion's Reluctant Habits, James Wood on DFW.
Fantods reader, Joe Winkler, also made it to the event and wrote up his take on it. Thanks, Joe!
James Wood Lecture - Joe Winkler
The speech began with Wood dropping his sports jacket on the floor next to his podium. I guess this was a symbol of the overall informality of the night. From there, he started the actual speech with some examples of Wallace’s “Brilliant ear for speech”, such as his use of the mistaken word reciplicate instead of reciprocate and also chicken presto instead of chicken pesto. He then listed other examples, and had an interesting observation about a small line in the B.I. of the man who uses Victor Frankl, something along the line (I don’t have the book in front of me) that the person says “just like the saying whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, whoever said that, that there shouldn’t be a knee jerk reaction to suffering…” Wood pointed out that the sound of the phrase knee jerk makes you think of the person who did pen that quote i.e. Nietzsche, and how Wallace here undercuts the statement because the man is describing how a woman being raped, after the fact, has value by quoting Nietzsche, but when you think of Nietzsche and women you think of Nietzsche’s misogynistic statement of whenever there is a woman around have a whip….
He then contextualized Wallace’s great ear for speech to other writers such as Norman Rush, and put Wallace in a strong American tradition of writers exploring consciousness expressing itself.
[continued after the jump]
Maria Bustillos has written an enthusiastic review of the David Lipsky DFW Bio (Here at amazon) in her insightful and entertaining style. Booked Up: 'Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: a Road Trip with David Foster Wallace,' by David Lipsky.
I can’t tell you how much fun this book is; amazingly fun, even for a Wallace fan who is still devastated by his death. You wish yourself into the back seat as you read, come up with your own contributions and quarrels. The form of the narrative, much of which is a straight transcription of the interview tapes, together with the wry commentary of the now-mature and very gifted Lipsky, is original, and intoxicatingly intimate.
"Intoxicatingly intimiate" sums up the book better than my whole upcoming review.
Avi, over at the Daily Snowman, has posted a great little summary of the James Wood on DFW evening at 92Y. Sounds like it was a top evening.
This was a wholly worthwhile experience mostly because Wood is an incredibly astute reader. This should come as no surprise to people familiar with his writing, but part of the joy of the talk was to hear how a great reader approaches some really good fiction. And Wood, in fact, started off the talk by reading several passages of exceptional writing, including such gems as "Whereas but your basic smoothie" (p. 31) and "Trim and good and good legs--she'd had a kid but wasn't all blown out and veiny and sagged" (p. 27). Wood referred to these examples of speech--repellent and horrible as they are--as the locals pleasures of the book, noting that there is a good American tradition of capturing speech and consciousness.
(Glad you managed to get tickets, Avi. Thanks for the summary!)
I'm aware of a few more reports that will appear here, and elsewhere, over the next few days.
Neat little teaser and discussion for the upcoming Consider David Foster Wallace: Critical Essays collection over at the Wikipedian, What Do David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and Wikipedia Have in Common?
New Yorkers, don't forget that the James Wood first reading of DFW's BIWHM event at 92Y in NYC is only a day away. Looks like it could be a very interesting Monday evening for Wallace fans and critics alike. If you end up attending it would be great if you could get in touch or post your observations in the comments below. Tickets here.
|The Broom of the System|
|Girl with Curious Hair|
|Supposedly Fun Thing|
|Everything and More|
|Consider the Lobster|
|This is Water|
|The Pale King|
|Both Flesh and Not|
|New to DFW?|
|Interviews and Audio|
|The B.I. Project|