The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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ISU May 2014 DFW Conference - Call For Papers

Download the call for papers for Illinois State University's First Annual David Foster Wallace Conference. Friday, May 23, 2014 at The Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference  Center, 201 Broadway Street, Normal, Illinois 61761.



Featured presenters may be selected from early submissions.

Submissions will be considered in three categories: Scholarship of David Foster Wallace; Scholarship of Contemporary Literature, Publishing, or Culture that considers issues including, but not limited to: innovative/experimental literature; the future of literature and/or publishing; digital vs. traditional publishing/literature; the field of publishing in relation to contemporary literature and/or culture; literature, publishing, or scholarship as art; etc.; and the presentation of Original Creative Work exemplified by any of the above issues and/or that engages its subject from an original, committed, and human perspective.


Download the call for papers now.


Registration for the conference is now open


[Thanks Jane and Shelly]

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 January 2014 12:12

The Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of DFW and the “Reality Boundary”

Josh Roiland's (@JoshRoiland) super detailed and extensive review of Both Flesh and Not, A Review EssayThe Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of David Foster Wallace and the “Reality Boundary", can be found in Literary Journalism Studies and here.

It is much more than a review of Both Flesh and Not; at it's heart is an analysis of "the reality boundary" in Wallace's work:

Although it contains only two works of literary journalism—stories that have been reported and sourced and then told using a variety of literary devices—this book is useful for the ontological questions it raises about the nature of genre formation, literary categories, and “the reality boundary.”8 Moreover, the collection offers clues on Wallace’s thoughts about the genre and these attendant issues—a topic that has garnered modest attention since his death, with charges of embellishment and exaggeration made by his close friend Jonathan Franzen and repeated by his biographer D.T. Max.


During a public conversation at the 2011 New Yorker Festival, Wallace’s close friend and literary competitor, Jonathan Franzen, told David Remnick that he and Wallace disagreed about whether embellishment was an acceptable journalistic trait. Unsolicited, Franzen tells Remnick, “David and I disagreed on that.” Surprised, Remnick then randomly picks Wallace’s 1996 story “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” and asks Franzen, “He said it was okay to make up dialogue on a cruise ship?” To which Franzen replies, “For instance, yeah.” Franzen, who regularly contributes to Remnick’s magazine, then posits that one reason Wallace never published any nonfiction in the New Yorker was because of its historically rigorous fact-checking process. Remnick admitted Wallace tried, but he never says why the proposals were turned down.


Very interesting reading.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 January 2014 02:14

The World of David Foster Wallace

Lee Konstantinou's (@LKONSTAN and co-editor of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace) 28 page essay,The World of David Foster Wallace, from Fall 2013 boundary 2, can be downloaded here if you sign up to Here are a couple of select quotes from the second section that might help you decide if it's worth your time. (Hint: It is.)


Interrogating the art of Wallace for its worldly constituents may at first seem perverse. After all, across his three novels, three story collections, two nonfiction volumes, and his other works, Wallace focuses almost exclusively on what have been characterized as US-centric themes. He represents, in his fiction and nonfiction, a sort of postmodern parochialism, identified for him with irony and cynicism, that he found himself complicit in perpetuating and that he wanted to escape, hoping to forge a post-postmodern aesthetic.


Paul Giles is one of the few critics to claim that Wallace’s fiction shows “how globalization works not just as a distant political theory but as something that affects the hearts and minds of the national community.”30 Giles is not wrong to argue for a transnational dimension to Wallace’s work, but there is also a clear break in Wallace’s fiction from the internationalism of writers such as Pynchon and DeLillo. Wallace suggests that it is increasingly hard, even in an age of globalization, to imagine an outside to American culture for residents of the contemporary United States. In recognizing this dilemma, he is conscious of himself as part of an emerging post-postmodern wave of American artists, indebted to the worldly visions of their predecessors but unable to replicate them. Moreover, Wallace rejects the solution offered by some of his contemporaries, especially the globe-trotting novelist and journalist William T. Vollmann, with whom he felt intensely competitive.




Last Updated on Saturday, 04 January 2014 01:48

Recovery - Practically Painless English

Practically Painless English, by Sally Foster Wallace recovered by Diego Báez.

Octopus recovery projects are brief essays celebrating a single book that you feel people should be reading but are not reading:


According to its preface, Practically Painless English “strives to convey some of the fun and excitement that working with language can offer [and] to involve students in the beauty, logic, pizzazz, and joy of English.” Keywords “fun” and “logic” will raise flags in the minds of diehard loyalists to the cult of St. Dave. For the uninitiated, it may be interesting to begin with a remedial primer that seems almost to premonish the emergence of DFW’s preternatural talent. From its unconventional title to its quirky sample sentences to its stated concern with readerly comprehension, Ms. Wallace’s instructional prose smacks at times of DFW’s own writerly conventions (she even signs the preface: S.F.W.), at others it’s more than mere familial likeness; seems like DFW himself could’ve penned it. And even a cursory read-through of Practically Painless yields a great many similarities and remarkable moments.


Continue reading...

[Thanks, Diego]

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 10:49

The End of the Tour - Opinion Round-Up

I've been collecting links of opinions about The End of the Tour in a text file while I've been away from home. Things seem to have settled down a bit, so it seems to be a good time to post them.

What do I think about all this? None of you will be particularly surprised that I'm sitting on the fence... interested in what this might become, nervous about what it might end up being.

Read up below and comment if you care to share your thoughts - there's certainly significant difference of opinion in the pieces below.

Have I missed any? Let me know.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 December 2013 18:04

December 2013 Holiday Update

I'm on holidays and thus mostly away from a full sized computer. So here's another one of those this-time-of-year holiday updates because I have brief access to a pc.


Erasing Infinite’s erasure poems based on Infinite Jest.

New Orleans Review - Both Flesh and Not.

The Paris Review, Karen Green's Bough Down.

A Way With Words (Dec 14) contains a review of Quack This Way.

9 Most Dysfunctional Families In Literature, Huffington Post.

You Are Loved: Reflexivity, Recursion and Realism in the Work of David Foster Wallace.

Via The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog and D. T. Max, David Foster Wallace and Rap, Circa 1989.

John McGowan over at Ethos Review asks, "What Am I Missing?: Infinite Jest and Its Cult Following." If you have time have your say in the comments.


You might like to follow me for DFW updates via @nick_maniatis on Twitter or visit the Facebook page for more frequent updates while I’m away (easy to retweet on a smart phone).


In need of something to read? There's always The Book Store.


(Yes, the bullets are all messed up. Old browser doesn't like the wysiwyg editor.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 11:01

Pale Winter - Reading The Pale King

Today is day 1 of the group read of David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, check out the blog page for more info - Pale Winter.

If you've not read The Pale King and you'd like to read along with others this is the perfect opportunity.

Here's the (loose) reading schedule:

Week 1 (12/21–28) – Sections 1-9, pp. 3-85 [82 pages]
Week 2 (12/29–1/4) – Sections 10-21, pp. 86-153 [67 pages]
Week 3 (1/5–11) – Section 22, pp. 154-252 [98 pages]
Week 4 (1/12–18) – Sections 23-27, pp. 253-345 [92 pages]
Week 5 (1/19–25) – Sections 28-45, pp. 346-443 [97 pages] 
Week 6 (1/26–2/2) – Sections 46-50, pp. 444-538 [94 pages]
+ Notes & Asides pp. 539-547 [8 pages]


The Howling Fantods