The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Every Love Story Bio US Paperback Release 27th Aug

The US paperback release of D. T. Max's, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, is due next week on the 27th of August. It arrives with a new preface and you might recall that Michiko Kakutani named it one of her 10 Favorite Books of 2012.

It's absolutely worth reading if you haven't already. You can pre-order it from Amazon U.S. right now or purchase the UK paperback (it was released earlier in the year).

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 23:37

Auction of Wallace Story and Letters


...Via the The Wall Street Journal, Collecting by the Book (And Letter and Postcard). [16/8/13]

At a June auction, an edited story and a cache of letters by the late author David Foster Wallace to writing professor Richard Elman came up for sale. Sotheby's estimated that they would go for $10,000 to $15,000 overall. A bidding war ensued, won by a private collector with a bid of $125,000.

Continue reading over at TWSJ



The Map and the Territory

Adam Kelly (Irish Research Council CARA Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and University College Dublin ) took students from his Harvard undergraduate seminar on an 'Infinite Boston tour':

The occasion for this outing was the inaugural Infinite Boston tour, a journey orientated by sites and events described in David Foster Wallace’s 1996 novel, Infinite Jest. I borrow the phrase “Infinite Boston” from William Beutler’s website of that name, described on its homepage as “a limited-run essay series about the real-life Boston area locations” featured in Wallace’s novel. The site is choc-full of excellent photographs and illuminating descriptions of the various streets and spaces of the book. When confirmation came that I would be teaching “David Foster Wallace and his Generation” in the Spring semester, I contacted Mr. Beutler to see if he would be interested in leading an official tour. It turns out that he does not live in Boston, but in D.C. Instead, he kindly put me in touch with another Bill, Bill Lattanzi – Cambridge resident, playwright, science documentary maker, and part-time MIT professor – who undertook the pre-planning and did the honors in fine style on the day.

But Kelly's piece doesn't just recount the tour, as expected he uses it as a stepping stone to something else, an analysis of maps and territories in Wallace's work:

One of Wallace’s most profound historical projects involved trying to convince his generation of Americans that they needed to revalue and reestablish boundaries; rather than individual freedom inhering in a lack of restrictions, limits could be understood as animating and enabling. The boundaries of a game, and the boundaries of a self, were clearly two kinds of limits that fascinated Wallace.

Read, The Map and the Territory: Infinite Boston, over at The Millions.

Also by Adam Kelly, David Foster Wallace: the Death of the Author and the Birth of a Discipline [previously.]

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:43

Supposedly Fun Things...

Ryan M. Blanck (owner of the Letters to DFW blog,, @RyanMBlanck) has published a collection of narrative and critical essays influenced by David Foster Wallace, Supposedly Fun Things:

"Chaperoning Grad Nite at Disneyland… Spending eight hours in the Prospective Juror holding room… Reading AP exam essays for fifty-six hours… Detoxing from an addiction to prescription narcotics… Travelling 7000 miles to present a paper at a literary conference in Antwerp, Belgium… In this collection of narrative and critical essays, Ryan M Blanck explores the “irony of the banal” in these situations and others. Influenced by the writing style of David Foster Wallace and heavily footnoted, Supposedly Fun Things… offers candid reflections on some of life’s most ordinary – and extraordinary – events."

Ryan's book is available now over at

Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 23:02

Not So Far Away

A positive new review over at the Toronto Review of Books blog by Shannan Minifie about last year's, David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview and Other Conversations.

There's a lot going for this short little collection, and Minifie thinks so too:


In his interview with his alma mater (Amherst Magazine) he elaborates on his revision practices, lamenting the comparatively “terribly first-draftish” nature of interviews, in which “no truly interesting question can be satisfactorily answered.”

This is interesting since the collection manages to reveal more about the writer than he perhaps imagined. And this is where the book’s major appeal lies: in the way it answers the question of why his readers continue to hanker after All Things Wallace. The collection doesn’t offer new material or exclusive access to Wallace ephemera, but TLI&OC conveys to new Wallace readers his profound interest in the “magic” of fiction. The interviews collected here introduce a common and persistent thread in Wallace’s lifelong contemplation of, and commentary on, his art: his belief that “good” literary art enables the imaginative identification inherent in “real” human connection.


Continue reading here.

Order David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview and Other Conversations at

Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 23:35

Why Some Hard Books are Worth Reading

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Evana Ho (regular contributor to ACTWrite, the ACT Writers Centre’s monthly member magazine) because she was reading Infinite Jest in 30 days and planning to write about the experience. I agreed to an interview and we ended up meeting at The National Library of Australia to share my experiences reading the novel. Just like pretty much any time I end up discussing Wallace with someone (regardless of how well I know them), time flew by.

A month later and the article, Why Some Hard Books are Worth Reading or How I Read Infinite Jest in 30 Days, has now appeared in the August 2013 issue of ACTWrite.

I would read, and write about reading, Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. And I would read it in 30 days, which was how long I had to write this article.

Ordinarily, 30 days would be more than enough time to read a single book. But this isn’t an ordinary book. Printed in 8 point font, it spans 1,079 pages, including 96 pages of “endnotes and errata” in even smaller print. Infinite Jest jumps back and forth chronologically, features a massive cast of interconnected characters, and is best read using two bookmarks and with the Oxford English Dictionary secure in your lap.

Read it here: Why Some Hard Books are Worth Reading or How I Read Infinite Jest in 30 Days by Evana Ho.

[Thanks, Evana!]

Last Updated on Friday, 09 August 2013 01:44

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