The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Jason Segel on WTF Podcast Ep 623

Marc Maron (@marcmaron @WTFpod) interviewed Jason Segel (star of The End of the Tour) for this week's WTF Podcast: Episode 623. David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour discussion starts around 59:00.

Segel speaks about getting the role, reading Infinite Jest for the first time as part of a book group, sobriety, fame, themes in Infinite Jest and heaps of other stuff.

Fascinating interview.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 21:51

A Supposedly Fun Show - Tickets on Sale Today

Tickets for Christopher Duva's NYC International Fringe Festival (August 2015) stage adaptation of DFW's essay, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, go on sale today!

5 Shows only!

Everything you need to know about the show can be found via the links at the end, but I wanted to know more so I asked Chris to tell me a little more about the show and how it came to be.

Over to Chris:


My parents dragged me on cruise ships when I was a child. They now continually ask to drag my daughter on cruise ships. In fact, as I write this, my parents are on a cruise ship. Since they retired, this is seldom not the case.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is the first DFW piece I ever read. It was January 1996 and I was newly dating my now wife and the mother of my aforementioned daughter, Suzanne Weber (who is directing the show). She knew DFW socially through Amherst Alumni events and knowing my tortured cruise-ship past, suggested I read DFW’s Harpers piece, “Shipping Out”. I felt like someone had mined my brain and turned every random thought I’d ever had about the experience into gold. The next month, Infinite Jest came out. I’ve been devouring DFW’s writing ever since.

Later, I corresponded with DFW about possibly adapting his collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men for the stage. He gave me his blessing but wasn’t aware at the time that the rights were already tied up with a film option. DFW referred me to Bonnie Nadell who handled these things for him, and she let me down easy. Then, about two years ago I came across DFW’s letter and it felt like unfinished business. Suddenly it hit me that the piece I should really be adapting for the stage was A Supposedly Fun Thing… because I have always felt so personally connected to it. I wrote to Bonnie to see if the rights were available. They were and so I drew up a proposal. After some months of back-and-forth, she and DFW’s widow, Karen Green, generously gave me permission through the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust to adapt the essay.

It’s been tremendous working so closely on this piece, as well as horrifying realizing the amount of great material I’d have to cut. I’m hoping that the FringeNYC run will lead to future productions. But, at this point it’s only these 5 shows in New York!


Thanks, Chris. I hope some of you can make it and support the show. I know I'd be going if I didn't live on the other side of the world. - Nick

Twitter: @asupposedlyfun -
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 July 2015 01:52

David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel

Daniel Kolitz has written an extensive piece for Hopes and Fears about The Pale King, specifically §22 (The Fogle novella), Attention without choice: David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel:

It seems Wallace wrote the first work of Adderall literature, a genre that has come to include Tao Lin’s Taipei, Stephen Elliot’s The Adderall Diaries, and (if tweets count as literature) about 30% of Twitter. Wallace’s piece never mentions Adderall, but it’s there, if you know where to look for it.

The piece in question comes early in The Pale King, Wallace’s unfinished, posthumously published novel-in-fragments. It’s a 98-page monologue (really, a novella) delivered by one ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle, a near-derangedly prolix IRS employee. Fogle tells us of his self-described “wastoid” adolescence spent drifting in the post-Watergate ‘70s, an apparent wasteland of drugs, divorce and daytime television. He says that he “had no motivation,” that “everything at that time was very fuzzy and abstract.”


The FDA approved Obetrol in 1960, as a diet drug. It was meth, mostly, with some dextroamphetamine tossed in to distinguish it from the competition. Obetrol was just one of many drugs then ushering in a kind of golden age of rampant speed abuse. Truckers, hippies, housewives: Collectively they popped, snorted and shot the country into an outright epidemic, as detailed in Nicholas Rasmussen’s On Speed.


Did Wallace realize he was writing about Adderall? It’s not impossible: Anyone whose risked their vision reading Infinite Jest’s 8-print footnotes knows the guy had more than a passing interest in pharmacology. And by the time he started writing the Fogle section, in the mid-‘00s, Adderall was already a decade into its steep ascent, generating countless newspaper pieces on overmedication and undergraduate pill-slinging. Wallace—a well-informed adult working on a college campus—would likely have been aware of it.

Continue reading Attention without choice: David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel.


For more about the Fogle novella check out Matt Bucher's essay, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative,  that he presented at the DFW2015 conference earlier this year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 July 2015 01:30

DFW and the Short Things - Programme

The programme for the one day (July 8th 2015) University of Bristol conference, David Foster Wallace and the Short Things (previously) is now available here.

Looks to be a fantastic field for a single day.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2015 00:14

The Fogle Novella - DFW2015

If you read to the very bottom of yesterday's post about DFW2015 you would have found a link to, A Few Trends in DFW Studies by Matt Bucher (of SSMG Press, list owner of wallace-l, Simple Ranger and generally all around DFW fan/expert and nice guy).

Matt also presented a paper at the DFW 2015 conference, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative, and it's pretty great.

It's no secret that The Fogle Novella is one of the standout sections, §22, of The Pale King and can stand alone as a novella. In fact Madras Press sell it separately as, The Awakening of My Interest in Advanced Tax, with proceeds going to Granada House.

This essay discusses the structure of Fogle’s conversion narrative, the catalysts that force a change in his story, and the similarities his story shares with early American Puritan conversion narratives. Fogle’s Section 22 is long enough and self-contained enough to stand on its own and so I refer to it in places as “the Fogle novella” or just “the novella.” Throughout Fogle’s narrative, there are three main catalysts that instigate change within his life: 1) his father’s “Ozymandias” statement, 2) hearing the As The World Turns tagline, and 3) the Jesuit substitute’s speech at DePaul. As a literary construct, Fogle’s narrative mirrors the structure of Puritan conversion narratives, which Patricia Caldwell’s work has shown to be a primarily literary form masked as a religious element. Fogle’s story arc follows a surprisingly similar pattern and still adheres to the greater project of The Pale King: boredom as religious experience.

Click here to continue reading, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 13:29

DFW2015 - Report from Tony McMahon

Hi everyone, I'm back! The first of many updates over the next few days. First up, Tony McMahon's DFW2015 report.

(Part 1 here, btw: On the Road to DFW 2015)

Hi all,

It’s a pretty exhausted correspondent writing to you today from the main street of Normal, Illinois.

Outside the Normal theatre, where End of the Tour will be screening in about 20 minutes time. Past this gorgeous old movie house is The Marriot, where the conference took place today. Further down is Illinois State University, Wallace’s old stomping ground. According to Max’s biography, Wallace watched Jurassic Park here.

Heaps more after the break!

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 13:10

On The Road to DFW 2015

Hi everyone!

DFW 2015, the second annual David Foster Wallace conference begins today!

Follow the official Twitter account @DFW2015 for updates, and tag your own contributions with #DFW2015 (There's no way I'll be awake all night, so make sure you give all of us on the other side of the planet something to read in the morning.)

Feel free to broadcast live via Periscope while you're wandering around and tag your stream with #DFW2015. I'm hoping at least one session on Friday will be live via Periscope...

Check out the Facebook page for details, including the final schedule. It's going to be a huge couple of days, including a screening of The End of the Tour (Sundance roundup here) tonight.

Now over to guest blogger Tony McMahon (did you sign up for twitter, Tony?)



-Tony McMahon

Hello again Fantods readers,

Some of you may remember me from my blogs here from the Infinite Wallace conference in Paris last September. For better or worse – or perhaps just because of a severe lack of good judgement – Nick has asked me to keep you updated again on DFW15, the second annual David Foster Wallace conference, held in our fave writer’s hometown of Normal, Illinois.

For reasons largely tied up with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road being my favourite book as a teenager, I made the decision to drive to Normal when I arrived from Australia in Los Angeles. Big. Mistake. We’re talking Melbourne to Perth here, with the treacherous and knuckle-whitening Rocky Mountains in between, all of which I’ve somehow managed to make happen in three days. To say I’m frazzled is something of  an understatement up there with ‘Infinite Jest is a pretty long book’.

-Leaving Las Vegas. Plenty of fear, just the regular amount of loathing, but thankfully no bats in the sky

-The Utah Bad Lands, on the way to DFW15

Nonetheless, I’m in Normal now, comfortably settled and showered and ready to be THE VERY FIRST PRESENTER AT THE CONFERENCE TOMORROW. The bad news (for me) is that this makes me more nervous than a bucket of butcher’s knives. The good news (for this website) is that I’ll be able to give the rest of the conference my full, unworried attention, and report back. Stay tuned.

-Arriving in Wallace’s Illinois, as seen from a Chevy convertible, accompanied by Allard Den Dulk’s amazing new book

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2015 23:33

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