The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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If DFW Was an Ethnographer?

From Ethnography Matters,a piece by Jan-H. Passoth and Nicholas J. Rowland, What Would Wallace Write? (if he were an ethnographer):


Comparing David Foster Wallace and an average ethnographic field report seems unfair at first. And, it does not get better if you try that second time or a third time, and at any point after that. The writing of a genius wordsmith and the report of a serious scholar; how could they be comparable in any meaningful way? But because this series of blog-posts is exactly about fiction and ethnography, we will try to answer our own question, nevertheless, and, if we are lucky, harvest a few insights from creative writing to improve our academic writing. Not being literary experts, but scholars – and free time readers of David Foster Wallace´s works – we are neither willing nor able to deliver an exegesis on Wallace’s work or hazard any reconstruction of his style, inter-textual analysis, and surely we won’t – we cannot – document all the pop-cultural linkages Wallace employed in his work. But there is something that we can offer; when we read his dense, immersive prose, we cannot help but thinking that it sounds like ethnography … really, really good ethnography.


This got me thinking about Another Pioneer from the Oblivion collection. (Thinking because I've been reading Greg Carlisle's treat of a book about the collection too... more on that later). I asked a question over at Ethnography Matters [currently awaiting moderation]:

"Any thoughts about Wallace’s ‘Another Pioneer’ short story in his Oblivion collection? There’s so much else that the story is about – i.e. it’s place in a collection about oblivion and narrative distance – but could it also be a response to ethnographic issues? [Just throwing this out for discussion. I don't have enough background in ethnography to really comment, it was just the first thing I though of.]"


Continue reading - What Would Wallace Write? (if he were an ethnographer)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 13:29

DFW and Pinterest

There's actually heaps of interesting David Foster Wallace stuff on Pinterest (if you search it).

Howling Fantods reader, Beatrice, has compiled a David Foster Wallace Pinterest page (now added to the Blogroll in the right hand column - there's some cool stuff there, btw):

David Foster Wallace w/r/t on Pinterest.

Check it out.

[Thanks, Beatrice!]


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 12:42

Time to Get Posting...

I'll admit it.

Things have been pretty quiet around here.

Part of it is a little bit of a slowdown of Wallace related news. But not really - if you follow me on Twitter @nick_maniatis (you can click the twitter link and check out my stuff even if you're not on twitter) you'll notice it's pretty exclusively devoted to retweeting Wallace related stuff and it never slows down. Probably the biggest fault with my twitter updates is that I try to only retweet new things so as not to alienate old followers, forgetting that there are plenty of new followers too... I'll see if I can balance things a bit. Twitter is easy, I can just retweet from my phone.

The other part of the quietness is to do with an upcoming family event that involves delivering my mum's ashes to the place on the other side of the country she requested they be spread before she died, almost a year ago now. It's actually not been too stressful to organise. Many, many things got much easier since mum died - that's not a story for here - but the associated guilt and grief that accompany those feelings are sometimes crippling (e.g. I'm more at ease among big groups - and really quite nervous about meeting anyone - even close friends - one on one. That's quite unusual for me). I've only just started to admit this to close friends and family (with some significant prompting... sincerest thanks, M______) and it's helped me to address day to day stuff with increasing ease. I'm mentioning all this here in the hope that it will help me jump back into work here at The Howling Fantods too.


I've received plenty of emails in recent months about all kinds of neat Wallace related things. Few have made it to the front page, some to twitter and the rest... are sitting embarrassingly in my email.

Thus, I'm setting myself a goal of news item at least every two days (including multiple updates today) to get the ball rolling.

Here we go.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 12:24

Nature's Nightmare on Oct 15

Update: Amazon are shipping pre-orders early. Some purchasers have already received their copies!

Greg Carlisle's (Elegant Complexity) new collection of essays, this time about Oblivion, Nature's Nightmare: Analyzing David Foster Wallace's Oblivion, is due on October 15.

I can't wait!

You can pre-order it at now.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 11:39

Remembering David Foster Wallace 2013

5 Years...

I just re-read Forever Overhead. I love that story.


Part 2 and Part 3

Thoughts to his friends and family.

2012 2011 2010 2009

Thoughts Elsewhere (refresh throughout the day - I'll add more as I find/hear about them):

Italian readers... there seems to be a lot coming out of Italy today. Send me links for the best, meanwhile head to Archivio DFW.

If you have something to share let me know here or on twitter @nick_maniatis

(And from way back, because it is good: McSweeney's Memories of David Foster Wallace)

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 September 2013 10:13

Meaningful Work in The Pale King

I expect we'll see more of these over the next couple of days. This is a good one. From Christopher Michaelson over at The Huffington Post, Meaningful Work in The Pale King: In Memory of David Foster Wallace, Five Years On:


Regrettably, I arrived late, very late, to the DFW party, taking special notice when I read his tragic obituary. Only then did I ascertain what his other devotees had already known: the implied author who seems almost to be another self, to think what you think, to express it more clearly and sympathetically and so amusingly that you want him to say it again and again. I'd bought my copy of Infinite Jest in 2002, after almost five years of hearing about and resisting its essentiality, and then I left it unread; I did not actually finish it until earlier this year. It is one of two thick books of his that I've literally torn in half, not in exasperation, but to satisfy my need to bring his writing with me on plane flights in bags too full to carry so many pages.


Continue reading...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 23:35

Summer of Jest Postscript

Marco V Morelli's group read of Infinite Jest, Summer of Jest (inspired by 2009's Infinite Summer) has come to an end. Of sorts. In my experience just a single read is not the end of one's engagement with this wonderful novel.

For those of you that participated (or like me- lurked... I've made it pretty clear that I love keeping an eye on the reactions and experiences new readers have in response to Infinite Jest).

With general life and a growing family taking more and more of my time, it's amazing to watch readers like Marco coordinate reading schedules and summaries, a Facebook group, twitter updates, guest posts, call in 'support groups' and 'infinite conversations' (in hindsight, my participation in one of them was an absolute highlight even though at the time I was terribly nervous) and much more to support participating readers.

Now that most have finished it's well worth your time to check out the Summer of Jest front page and read through the post-IJ reflections.


[via Summer of Jest]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:05

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