The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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First Annual DFW Conference Report

Great report from Thomas Cook about the ISU's First Annual DFW conference over at The Hairsplitter, Normalizing David Foster Wallace:

Over Memorial Day weekend of this year, the Department of English at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, where Wallace taught for most of the 1990s, hosted their First Annual David Foster Wallace Conference at the Marriott in uptown Bloomington. Yes, Bloomington has an “uptown” neighborhood, I was surprised to learn, where The Coffee Hound responsibly sources Costa Rican beans from Oscan and Olga Mendez and offers a range of paleo-friendly and gluten-free menu items. My wife and I were in attendance at the conference, having made the trip from Massachusetts to the oasis of corn and soy in central Illinois, a landscape we’d inhabited in college and readers of Wallace would, if they were to make the sojourn, recognize from Wallace’s early essays (“Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley”) as well as his last novel, The Pale King, which is grounded in Peoria, Illinois. Even though we were familiar with the landscape, the flatness overwhelmed; we hadn’t been back in half a decade.

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Salon - David Foster Wallace-Inspired Art

Via Salon - From fan fiction to tattoo sleeves: The weirdest David Foster Wallace-inspired art:


Flowchart on How to Live a Compassionate Life

Co.Design - Flowchart: David Foster Wallace On How To Live A Compassionate Life

This is Water


Erasing Infinite - BuzzFeed Books

Erasing Infinite's Jenni B. Baker (check out her interview with The Howling Fantods here) had 13 poems from her Infinite Jest erasure poetry project featured on BuzzFeed Books today, One Writer Is Creating Her Own Poetry By Erasing Words From Pages Of “Infinite Jest”.


Reading Wallace Reading - The Smart Set

I heard good things about this paper after Mike Miley presented it at the DFW conference earlier this year. I wasn't there so I'm glad he's got this up online. It is fantastic. Do not hesitate to read this.

ViaThe Smart Set - Mike Miley's, Reading Wallace Reading:

I have David Foster Wallace’s personal copy of Don DeLillo’s novel End Zone. It is in my hands. It used to be his, and now it’s mine, albeit temporarily and under careful supervision by credentialed professionals. It is teeth-chatteringly cold in this room and brain-fryingly hot on the street because it’s July in Austin. People are baking cookies on their dashboards, and they’re delicious. It will not rain until September.

I am relaying this information to you from the Reading Room of The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which in addition to housing the most powerful air conditioner in North America, houses pretty much every literary archive that you could dream of having access to, including the David Foster Wallace Archive, which, along with Wallace’s manuscripts and correspondence, has about 300 books from his personal library, 250 of which contain copious annotations in Wallace’s miniscule handwriting. I am actually being paid, or, more accurately, subsidized, to read his annotations.


Continue reading here...

[Thanks, Mike]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 01:03

Lego Jesting

There's more than one Infinite Jest in Lego Project?

Ryan M Blanck's Infinite Lego Project:

(Hal in the Admissions Office)


Kevin Griffith and Sebastian Petrou Griffith's Brickjest:

(There was a horrible sound. The skin of his forehead distended as we yanked his head back.)


Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - Aug 28-30

A new stage production of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men from Yellow Lab Productions will run from August 28-30 at The Point Theatre in Ingram Texas (Further details here).

David McGuff has adapted it for the stage and is directing too. I took the opportunity to ask David a couple of questions about the upcoming production and the process of gaining approval/securing rights from The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust.

THF: Hi David, congrats on securing the rights and thanks for answering a couple of questions.  I've helped plenty of interested people get in touch with The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust about securing rights but I've never asked anyone about the full process. What's involved?

David McGuff: As far as securing the rights, it was a generally painless experience (once I found out who I needed to talk with). I expressed interest, and gave them a run down of my production company and theatrical history. I talked briefly (pun intended) about what the book meant to me, and how I saw it as a theatrical production, and my overall vision and intent. They responded back, and said yes. We went back and forth hammering out details, and they were very hands-off as far my adaptation, I was given no guidelines etc. There were a few times where their responses sort of took a while, but I imagine they're busy and my relatively small rights fee probably isn't top of their list of things to do. When I was concerned I'd send a follow up e-mail. As of now we're settled, I just sent the check in with my countersigned rights permission.

THF: And the adaptation itself?

David McGuff: As far as my actual adapting, it was extremely difficult and challenging. I, like most of the people on this site are likely to be, am a huge fan of DFW. And to cover the breadth and depth of the book (we're adapting all but 2 of the interviews and a couple of the stories) there had to be major cuts on a few of the longer scenes. This is hard, because it is all there to serve a purpose. The repetitiveness sort of lulls you into a sense of comfort or anxiety or boredom (depending) in which he slips the sort of world-shattering truth bombs by you when you're not ready for it. These men reveal themselves in surprising and unexpected ways and times. And if you cut too much (I'm looking at you John Krasinski) it becomes ham-fisted, or loses all profundity without that context or spirit of the piece. My document is currently sitting at over 2700 minutes of editing time. We are still putting on finishing touches as we rehearse and hear it out loud and find the right flow. This is difficult. And humbling because far be it for me to edit someone's writing who is obviously much better at it than I am. I'm trying so hard to make the pieces resonate and make people feel what I felt reading them. Of course the script is only part of that (I'm also directing and acting in it as well) but it is a large part and being based on a text sort of ups that ante for me.

So I guess the technical and business part of it was relatively easy. Be prepared, professional, and persistent. The artistic part of it is going to be extremely difficult. And you've got to know your stuff and be prepared to talk and discuss and dig around in his very layered, nebulous characters who are all full of contradictions and complexity and convey multiple themes and human observation. It's a deft touch that I am hoping that I'm able to reach. I've chosen mostly to try and get out of my own way, and just make the production be a representation of DFW and his writings as best as I can interpret he meant them. Adding some theatrical touches and flair in the staging and acting is meant to punch up the meaning, but we've not decided to put something of our own over the top of it. You could if you wanted to. You'd be a more confident artist than me. Have fun if you do, for me this is a once in a lifetime dream come true, and I intend to have a blast doing it.


Details about the performance right here. I'd love a review or two if anyone goes to see it!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:38

The Howling Fantods