The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Ryan Blanck's Letters to DFW

Been a while since I updated this one - Ryan Blanck is still going strong with his Letters to DFW project.

Just Because

News might be a bit slow over the next couple of weeks for some reason...
Eleni was born at 5:51am this morning - 3.560kg or 7lb 13oz (ish) for grandparents/weird countries... :) 
Re: News and stuff - if you do discover something pressing while I'm busy, be sure to let me know here, it will streamline things a bit.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 May 2010 16:37

Here & Now Lipsky Interview

Here & Now interviewed David Lipsky on radio about his book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. Listen to the audio of the interview by clicking on the listen to the story link on the top right of the page.
It's a great interview and well worth a listen.
Jump to 6:30 or so to hear some audio of David Foster Wallace from Lipsky's original recordings. DFW on how to treat others and ourselves...
(Cheers, Matt)

The Cage and the Ecstasy of St. Teresa in Infinite Jest

The Cage in Infinite Jest
Posted over at Dennis Coopers's blog, DC's , is an extensive collection of references to Sidney Peterson's The Cage in Infinite Jest by guest blogger, Alan: Alan presents ... 'The Cage'/'Infinite Jest'.
Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa in Infinite Jest
On Alan's own blog, the purest of treats, is an examination of DFW’s use of Bernini’s “Ecstasy of St. Teresa” in a series of posts at the beginning of March. He advises to scroll down to the bottom of the March Archive to have a look (some NSFW images, take care).
(Cheers to Andrew for pointing these out)
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 May 2010 12:20

On Westward

Jennifer Shapland over at the American Short Fiction Blog has posted a short article about David Foster Wallace's novella Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way from Girl With Curious Hair. Jennifer writes:

Here’s the thing: I love this story. I love its ambition. The premise is a trip, a journey deep into rural Illinois (funny that his essay on the Illinois State Fair was written years later). The characters are en route to a reunion of everyone who’s ever been in a McDonald’s commercial, held at this pretty sinister physical interpretation of Barth’s funhouse. Basically, Wallace is trying to write his way out of the trap of metafiction set by writers like Barth by using metafiction, stretching self-referentiality to its limits.

I love this story too, just be wary of some spoilers in the article, if you have not read Westward yet.


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.
[I'll be in contact with the winners by email ASAP]
Read their entries after the jump:
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.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 17:45
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