The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Empress of Serenity - ASFTINDA Inspired Movie

This news broke yesterday and I still don't know what to think... Apparently Empress of Serenity is inspired by Wallace's cruise essay A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never do Again (originally in Harper's as Shipping Out):

The Wrap - Bill Hader to Star in David Foster Wallace-Inspired Movie ‘Empress of Serenity’ (Exclusive) [18/11/15]

Flavorwire - Bill Hader Cast in Film Inspired by David Foster Wallace [19/11/15]

Uproxx - Is Trying To Make A Movie Inspired By ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again’ A Good Idea? [19/11/15]

Last Updated on Friday, 20 November 2015 10:35

The End of the Tour - It's Here!

So this arrived this morning... I know what I'll be doing this evening!

The End of the Tour - DVD and Blu-ray over at Amazon now.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2015 13:27

Infinite Jest on The Ex-PM

Well how about that! Infinite Jest appeared on the Australian satirical comedy sitcom, The Ex-PM, starring one of my favourite Australian comedians, Shaun Micallef. (Episode 4 about 2:30 watch here on iview if you live in Australia).

Interesting to note that it is the 10th anniversary edition which is most certainly not the most common edition to be found in Australia. Excellent visual gag too - if you watch the show and know the characters!

(Cheers to moan, @hotcarl333 for letting me know - I was behind until this evening!)


Last Updated on Monday, 09 November 2015 23:14

The Great Concavity - DFW Podcast Ep 3

Episode 3 of the The Great Concavity is available now. (Follow the show on twitter @ConcavityShow and subscribe to the podcast here)

Today's episode is a discussion with artist Robyn O'Neil.

The podcast is hosted by Dave Laird (@DaveLaird2) and Matt Bucher (@mattbucher, wallace-l,, Simple Ranger, Side Show Media Group) two Wallace enthusiasts with a wealth of Wallace knowledge to share.

Listen to The Great Concavity episode 3.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2015 09:26

Infinite Jest's Typographical Circles


Casey Henry's (@caseymhenry) just published article in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction Volume 56, Issue 5, 2015, “Sudden Awakening to the Fact That the Mischief Is Irretrievably Done”: Epiphanic Structure in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, is incredible.

Not only does he pose an interesting consideration of the role of epiphanies in Infinite Jest, but Henry draws from some fascinating correspondence between Wallace and his editor Michael Pietsch about the typographical circle (a symbol very close to my heart):

Wallace explains these typographical markers in a clarifying letter to Pietsch: “They’re just supposed to be circles. Decoration. Maybe suggesting tennis balls, heads,annular defloration cycles, etc. Maybe just me amusing myself” (Letter to Pietsch, emphasis added).Due to the circles’ lacking any identification marks as heads, or tennis balls, and given the evidence to follow, I believe the most accurate and charged interpretation is of “annular defloration cycles” and the implied process of annulation. Wallace was obsessive about the circles, modifying them when they appeared too bouncing and comic, restricting their number from several to one, and settling on the half-shaded, hangnail-moon–looking glyph that appears in the book (Infinite Jest Typescript, Copyedited). Wallace meticulously stipulated the final annular cycle that appears semieclipsed on the last page of the main narrative, yet to be fully analyzed by Wallace critics. The partially occluded circle, lying just beyond Gately’s final breakdown, is essential to understanding the forward motion and means of breaking the self-enclosed annular rings that we might understand the novel’s arrangement prompts. Wallace was fastidious about this terminating symbol; he corrects a typesetter at Little, Brown in late proofs on a circle incorrectly placed in the middle of the page— whited out and X’d with pen—and another mildly obscured on the middle-right margin, jutting more bulbously (Infinite Jest Typescript, Copyedited). On a near-final proof with the circle in the proper lower-right position, marking the circle’s full, arc-like passage, he instructs further: “No— you have only 1/3 of circle protruding from bottom right, as if rest of circle has been cut off by margin” (IJ Proof Set 6-22). Wallace includes with the note his own marking of his intended eclipsed circle, far more off-page, and of a more unique shape, than the typesetter’s mark (IJ Proof Set 6-22). 

Apart from reading Wallace's take first hand, I was taken by surprise by the part I emphasised above (in bold). The partially occluded circle exists in my first edition hardcover of Infinite Jest (see the photo above), but not in my Abacus paperback or the 10 year anniversary edition. What about your copy? Comment below.

The omission of the p. 981 circle in some editions seems to me to be a MAJOR oversight. I hope it's there in the Infinite Jest Deluxe 20th Anniversary edition due in Feb 2016.


If you have access, I encourage you to read Casey Henry's article. Either directly if you have a subscription, via Google Scholar if you have access, or through your university or library.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 October 2015 15:17

The Great Concavity - DFW Podcast Ep 2

Episode 2 of the The Great Concavity is available now. (Follow the show on twitter @ConcavityShow and subscribe to the podcast here)

Today's episode is a discussion about The End of the Tour.

The podcast is hosted by Dave Laird (@DaveLaird2) and Matt Bucher (@mattbucher, wallace-l,, Simple Ranger, Side Show Media Group) two Wallace enthusiasts with a wealth of Wallace knowledge to share.

Listen to The Great Concavity episode 2.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2015 09:19

The French are (finally) Discovering Infinite Jest

Welcome back to occasional Howling Fantods guest blogger, Ariane Mak. This time she's writing for us about the release of Infinite Jest in French.


L’Infinie Comédie

The French are (finally) Discovering Infinite Jest

-Ariane Mak

Almost twenty years after its publication, Infinite Jest has been translated into French. L’Infinie Comédie and its 1488 pages have indeed been published in August by Les Éditions de l’Olivier. Thanks to Francis Kerline and Charles Recoursé, who translated the endnotes, a remarkable translation of Wallace’s magnum opus is now available to French readers.

During the past two months, Wallace was everywhere – in all the major national newspapers, in literary magazines, and even in fashion magazines. The French press seems to have (re)discovered Wallace and French readers have enthusiastically followed. L’Infinie Comédie is amongst the best-selling novels right now and has been republished twice already. In French bookstores, whole shelves are now being dedicated to the “Wallace galaxy”:

Why has the French translation of Infinite Jest taken so long? A Slate article by Titiou Lecoq explains this at length. It’s summarised and translated into English here.

[Continue reading here after the break]

Last Updated on Monday, 26 October 2015 15:22

The Howling Fantods