The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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

The ‘Conservative’ DFW?

James Santel's essay for The Hudson Review, On David Foster Wallace’s Conservatism:

[...] However, Wallace’s writing—including Both Flesh and Not,[5] the first posthumous collection of Wallace’s essays, which appeared in 2012—reminds us that another politically-tinged strain was present in Wallace’s work, running counter to the collective possibilities implied by The Pale King. Wallace’s writing did indeed frequently express the hope that human beings could transcend the limits of selfhood and language to reach one another in meaningful ways. But it was a hope severely curbed by his bedrock belief that true empathy is impossible, a belief most clearly expressed in his nonfiction, where it often took the form of a small-c conservatism, a deference to individual choice that arises from the inevitability of solipsism and isolation. What makes Wallace’s conservatism particularly disheartening is the extent to which it suggests he had difficulty placing his faith not only in other human beings, but also in the art form at which he was so obviously gifted, an art form in many ways predicated on sociability. [...]

(Continue reading)

Also, Rod Dreher responds over at The American Conservative, The ‘Conservative’ David Foster Wallace?





Sony Pictures Gains Rights to End of the Tour

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Picks Up ‘The End Of The Tour’, Starring Jason Segel & Jesse Eisenberg:

A week after Kilburn Media came aboard to finance The End Of The Tour, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has picked up rights for multiple territories to the pic at Berlin.

[via Deadline]

Previously, The End of the Tour - Opinion Round-Up.


Infinite Wallace - Paris Conference Program

Infinite Wallace Conference - Paris September 2014

The Infinite Wallace Conference Program is out and it looks amazing.

It will be difficult to sit here in Australia knowing this is happening on the other side of the world... super keen for reports and live-blogging. If you're interested in helping out with some DFW reportage let me know.


Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 16:55

Infinite Boston - Full Podcast of Show

You can now listen to the podcast of The Radio Open Source David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, and Boston, Infinite Boston, which aired on 90.9 wbur at 9pm Thursday (rebroadcast 2pm Sunday).

Listen to Infinite Boston.

Additional/extended material:

Sven Birkerts: Present at the Creation of “Infinite Jest”

The Infinite Boston Tour

D.T. Max on David Foster Wallace’s Boston

(Also, listen out for proof that my 2:30am maths skills are... problematic. Vox pop from me at the top of the show claiming I read Infinite Jest 19 years ago. ie. before it was published.)

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 18:23

Radio Open Source - 9pm Tonight - Preview Now

The Radio Open Source show about David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, and Boston, Infinite Boston, airs at 9pm tonight on 90.9 wbur (rebroadcast 2pm Sunday).

A preview of the episode can be found here, D.T. Max on David Foster Wallace’s Boston.


Also, check out Reddit's /r/literature for a conversation leading to this episode of radio open source.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 00:46

Radio Open Source - Infinite Jest

Update: The show will air Thursday 30th Jan at 9pm and be rebroadcast on the following Sunday at 2pm.

Also, check out Reddit's /r/literature for a conversation about this upcoming episode.

Following from the most recent show, Activism in Memory of Aaron Swartz (follow the link and listen from around 31 minutes to hear Maria Bustillos - @mariabustillos - speak about Swartz and Infinite Jest) next week's show will look more closely at Infinite Jest.

Some information about the Infinite Jest show from Max, Producer with Radio Open Source, Christopher Lydon's new show on WBUR:

Radio Open Source will be broadcasting a full hour next Thursday 30th Jan on the connection between Boston itself and David Foster Wallace's Boston — Endless Stem, CITGO sign, Chickens Fresh Killed, all of it. They have taken Bill Lattanzi's terrific tour and plan to have audio and video thereof go up around airtime.

They are also seeking audio, ideas and recommendations.

They have a call-in line where you can leave a message about favorite passages, characters, Boston vignettes in the book — that's here: (617) 353-0692. Those soundbites will be woven into the radio show. Please email the info account, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , if you can think of anything they should know about or anything that they really shouldn't leave out.

[Thanks, Max]

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2014 00:49

English Studies Journal Special Issue - The Pale King

Special Issue: Unfinished: Critical Approaches to David Foster Wallace's The Pale King English Studies Volume 95, Issue 1, 2014.

If you have access through a library or university to English Studies then this looks to be a fantastic issue to track down (unfortunately my NLA membership with access to thousands upon thousands of journals doesn't seem to include this one).

It's co-edited by Luc Herman and Toon Staes (he organised the Antwerp Wallace conference) and features - among other things - a number of contributions by speakers at the Antwerp conference (including the keynote speakers, Burn and Boswell). It will be circulated in print around April.


Introduction: Can The Pale King (Please) be a Novel? Luc Herman & Toon Staes

Pay Attention! David Foster Wallace and his Real Enemies.  Tore Rye Andersen

Author Here: The Legal Fiction of David Foster Wallace's The Pale King.  Marshall Boswell

Forms, Punch Cards and LETTERS: Self-Reference, Recursion and (Un)self-Consciousness in The Pale King's Representation of Bureaucracy.  Simon de Bourcier

Subjective Politics in The Pale King.  Emily J. Hogg

Work in Process: A Genesis for The Pale King.  Toon Staes

Toward a General Theory of Vision in Wallace's Fiction.  Stephen J. Burn


I can't wait to read these!


Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 12:50

The Howling Fantods