Associate Professor of Philosophy, Timothy Allan Schroeder, of Ohio State University has a little review of Infinite Jest tucked away online, you'll need to scroll down a little to find it, One Strong Opinion:
[...] To promote the reader’s efforts to identify with other people, to empathically engage them, Wallace does not just rely on the description of the virtues of identification in addiction recovery. He also gives extremely detailed, empathy-supporting psychological portraits of a huge range of characters, most of them very unlike the expected readers of the novel. Using familiar modernist techniques, he encourages the reader to try to identify with poor black girls, rich white boys, male prostitutes, drug addicts, enforcers for bookies, depressed women, and many more. Characters who perform horrifying acts are presented both from the outside and from the inside, making it harder not to empathize with some aspect of the worst, harder not to recognize some part of oneself in a person one would reject all comparisons to, ordinarily [...]
An article by Chris Osmond about David Foster Wallace as a teacher, Hideous Teachers:
As a seminar teacher, he was apparently astounding. There’s a whole cache of internet stuff out there from previous students who reflect on his generosity and intense focus on the quality of their expressions, their engagement with ideas. He completely shunned any reference to his monolithic status as voice of a generation, the post-pomo wunderkind, the Genius Grant recipient and official Next Big Thing, maintaining that he was to be “Dave” and talk about their work, not his. I cannot yet find evidence of anything else anywhere, really: his RateMyProfessors profile (cursed artifact of these panoptic times) has been pulled, of course, but it was reported to concur, in the bald terms that platform always invites (“one of the best teachers I’ve ever had,” “tough as shit and can hurt students’ feelings,” “very neurotic and tends to chew tobacco and spit in a cup while lecturing”).
Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2012 22:34
Well I'm calling it a special! Multiple separate pieces over at the L.A. Review of Books today. Make sure you check all of them out.
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 22:23
Update 8/12: New reviews, and a new extract.
Release day today, Nov 6th (also election day, don't forget to vote!) for David Foster Wallace's uncollected essays, Both Flesh and Not: Essays, (and the Australian imprint is already appearing in stores).
Looks like my hard back copy shipped from Amazon earlier today too.
I'll keep track of any reviews as they appear and I've written a little review over at the permanent page if you're interested.
Reviews and Articles (let me know if you find any more):
- Extract: What words really mean: David Foster Wallace's dictionary, The Telegraph. [6/12/12]
- New: David Annand's review for The Telegraph. [5/12/12]
- New: Tim Groenland's review of BFAN and the D.T. Max biography for The Dublin Review of Books, A Ghost Is Born. [3/12/12]
- New: Sumanth Prabhaker's review for Slant Magazine, The Better of What's Left: David Foster Wallace's Both Flesh and Not. [2/12/12]
- New: Brandon Christopher's review for The Winnipeg Free Press, Wallace essays hold attention of disparate readers. [1/12/12]
- New: Michael Gaffney's review for The Middlebury Campus, Booking It: Both Flesh and Not. [29/11/12]
- New: Robert Schaefer's review for The New York Journal of Books. [28/11/12]
- Izzy Kornblatt-Stier's Daily Gazette review, Grown-Up Stories: Beyond the Tricks of David Foster Wallace. [26/11/12]
- L.A. Review of Books, What Would DFW Do: Maria Bustillos, Eric Been, and Mike Goetzman on "Both Flesh and Not" and All Things Foster Wallace by Eric Been, Maria Bustillos and Michael Goetzman. [25/11/12]
- L.A. Review of Books, Ben Mauk on Both Flesh and Not : Essays and The Way the World Works : Essays The Thrills of Miscellany: David Foster Wallace, Nicholson Baker, and Supplemental Work. [25/11/12]
- Ben Hamilton's review for The Independent, IoS book review: Both Flesh and Not, By David Foster Wallace. [25/11/12]
- John Broening's Denver Post review. [25/11/12]
- Josh Davis' Time Out New York review. [21/11/12]
- Culture Critic review, Lessons in feeling: David Foster Wallace's Both Flesh and Not reviewed... [21/11/12]
- Stuart Kelly's Scotland on Sunday review. [18/11/12]
- Extract: David Foster Wallace on 'The Nature of Fun'. [16/11/12]
- Matt Bucher's Simple Ranger review. [16/11/12]
- Sebastian Stockman's Kansas City Star review, Posthumous Wallace collection is a grab bag of remnants. [15/11/12]
- Michiko Kakutani's NYT review, Lengthy Insights, Vividly Served At High Velocity. [15/11/15]
- D.T. Max's review for The New Yorker Page-Turner Blog, D.F.W's Nonfiction: Better with Age. [14/11/12]
- Vadim Rizov's review for A.V. Club. [12/11/12]
- Michael Darer's review for The Wesleyan Argus. [12/11/12]
- Webster Bull's ilsussidiario.net review, Both Flesh and Not: A Beginning. [12/11/12]
- Kevin Stachelek's review for Neon Tommy. [8/11/12]
- Richard Marshall's review for 3:AM Magazine, asmodeus' flight. [8/11/12]
- Michael Robbins' Chicago Tribune review, David Foster Wallace scrapes the stars ... and the barrel. [5/11/12]
- David Masciotra's review for The Daily Beast, David Foster Wallace, Traditionalist? Considering ‘Both Flesh and Not: Essays. [2/11/12]
- James Ley for the Sydney Morning Herald, A Genius Revealed. [27/10/12]
- Sean Conner's Anobium review, Grappling With the World: Both Flesh and Not. [28/8/12]
- Publishers Weekly review. [13/8/12]
- Gideon Lewis-Kraus's Bookforum review, Viewer Discretion.
Buy Both Flesh and Not: Essays now.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 22:33
An extended look at one of the pieces found in Both Flesh and Not: Essays that Edwin Turner hadn't read can be found over at biblioklept, A Seven Point Riff on David Foster Wallace’s David Markson Essay:
[...] I suspect that the Markson essay hasn’t been collected up until now because it is so focused on Wittgenstein’s Mistress—this in contrast to, say “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart” (Consider the Lobster) which is nominally about Austin’s autobiography but really about much bigger frying fish, like fan-idol relationships and ghostwriting and genre, or “Greatly Exaggerated,” which, again is nominally a review of Dix’s Morte d’Author: An Autopsy but is really more about postmodernism in general. I can’t recall exactly—maybe in his Charlie Rose interview—but Wallace said that he wanted the pieces in his books to be about more than just the ephemeral surface-level topic at hand; like most writers, he was contending for posterity. Wallace’s Markson essay is about Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the state of postmodern or experimental writing in the late 1980s and certain feminist analytic approaches to literature—but mostly it’s a detailed review of Markson’s novel—and it’s not trying to be anything more—which is actually really nice.
[Wittgenstein’s Mistress is still sitting on my shelf unfinished, yet started a number of times. I'll get to it one day.]
A long review/essay of Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace can be found over at The New York Review of Books by Elaine Blair, A New Brilliant Start:
That clichés contain truth might not seem like a startling observation in itself, but it’s a startling thing for a novelist of the first order to make a point of telling us—especially this particular novelist. You don’t have to read Infinite Jest for very long to appreciate Wallace’s sophisticated grasp of all kinds of colloquial, visual, pop cultural, and literary clichés. In one offhand clause he can disassemble some familiar phrase or image, draw attention to it, show us its component parts, implicitly chuckle at its silliness, yet also acknowledge its inescapable importance as a mental reference point for his readers. His dense weave of specific and generic pop references—Reebok athletic clothing in particular and the “centerless eyes,” “ravening maw,” and “canines” of horror movie ghouls in general—is worked in alongside spectacular descriptions of New England weather, the acoustics of a boys’ locker room, and other non-brand-name physical details. Infinite Jest is also a novel that relies, much more than it is given credit for, on fine-grained, psychologically realistic portraiture, at least with regard to its two main characters, Gately and the teenage tennis prodigy Hal Incandenza.
Having established that he is hardly someone who would confuse low art for high, or an original insight for tediously familiar received wisdom, Wallace gives us permission to find solace in common self-help truisms without feeling that we have lost our critical faculties. In other words, he cleaves aesthetic standards from moral ones, and shows us that it is possible, and sometimes necessary, to do so.