Do you consider Infinite Jest your best book? Are you working on a novel right now or do you intend to do so in the more or less near future?
Fiction is equally severe. But literary philosophy is shit. Literary Sociology is shit. Literary Psychology is shit. What would a literary physics be?
Gass, a letter The difference between what I write and poetry and literature is that, in principle, what I write is not fiction. But I do wonder more and more: After all, don't we have the right to present theoretical statements under the form of fictions? Not under the form, but in David foster wallace tenis essay form.
Its consequence has been a much anticipated but little heralded turning away not only from mytholepsy and the sort of Spenglerian Untergangbang that became the hallmark of postmodernism's first generation, the Pynchon-Coover-Barth axis of the sixties and seventies, but also from the later capitalizing on empty signifiers that became the stock in trade of the movement's second generation, the minimalists, in the eighties.
Now, well into the nineties, a third generation has sprung up whose quiet revolution in the realm of fictional technique has scrapped deadpan irony in favor of passive-aggressive role modeling in conceptual plasticene note Mark Leyner's My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist ; loss of affect in favor of affectation, suitably randomized, of loss viz.
Kathy Acker's Empire of the Senseless ; and density of texture in favor of density matrices whose historical decompressions of the indigenous reenergize the master-slave dialectic in wholly new and de-Hegelianized ways for example, William T. Vollmann's cycle of novels-in-progress on the loss-leader role assigned American Indian culture in the discounting of America.
I propose to illustrate the differences between Wallace and his postmodernist predecessors by examining the epistemology masquerading as indeterminacy physics that so often undergirds the master topoi of classic first-generation metafictional works, as well as its transfigurations in certain third-generation, on-the-way-to-becoming-classic post-metafictional, or post-scientific, texts.
Now, post-scientific fiction, as I see it, counters such specious epistemologizing by altering not only how the game of fiction is played but its nature and rationale as well. If the postmodernists of the sixties and seventies were content to smoke out the mirrors secreted in civilization's high-toned myths, the fact could not be ignored that those myths were from the start intent on blurring the distinction between the innocence of loss and the loss of innocence, whether they were a solution dreamed up by Scheherazade to keep a knife from her throat, or a problem dreamed up for Achilles, Ulysses, or Aeneas to keep him from reflecting too long or too hard on how holding the mirror up to self-reflection can leave any masterpiece open to having its bones jumped someday by a Barthelme or a Barth.
These and other writers sought to veil with multiple ironies or to infinitize ad ironiam Bedeutung's undignified retreat from Sinn all across the spectrum of twentieth-century culture, believing that, under a barrage of superhip gags and snickers, readers would be at a loss to say whether what they were being treated to was an extravaganza piped into a lounge pretending to be The Big Room or a small satyric revue in a big room pretending to be The Lounge.
He folds over layers of text until they intercalate each other's strata, thus simulating a version of hyperspace utterly removed from either the discontinuities of Burroughs's montage linguistics or the Einsteinian cut-ups of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.
This re-envisioning of fiction as the endlessly reconstitutable core reactor by which reality is broken down into its various unifying fields and not nucleated conscriptively into gross metastases of metaphor and metonymy—engrossing though they might be—as the original groundbreaking works of a Pynchon or a Coover now seem to third-generational eyes to have been.
This effect is further enhanced by having D. Gone, or at least forcefully reined in, are the obligatory algorithmics of the Coover style, that tendency to view fiction as a quickstep of likelihoods high-stepped by fortuity and desire, the slavish imitation of which has left many of today's younger writers awash in paregoric of Cooverismo.
Crumb twenty-five years ago in the pages of Zap Comics, which they superficially resemble. More often than not, the Coover method is to nominate a slate of cubistically pretzelized actantcies out of a field of potential developments whose mutant derivation from an Ur-mythos such as spanking the maid or leaving a child alone with a baby-sitter denies any of them precedence within the schema of that particular fiction.
For Wallace, however, commandeering myths in order to play ironic games within the interstices of determinisms imposed by their structures is not at all the same thing as demythicizing myths by invading their structures and commandeering their control centers.
A timely analogue from virology helps bring into focus the difference between first-generation postmodernism's debunking of myths indispensable to the modernist project and the third generation's debunking of their debunking of myth so as to reconstitute the mythical as an esemplast having already internalized advanced technology and virtual environments.
They recognize that myth in our time is not the panoplied derangement of an Achilles's tent or Circe's isle but rather the Jonah-fication of whaling exemplified by the TV shows beamed, spelunker-like, into the Plato's Cave of the global village.
Within the plasmic folds of a kind of supercoordinate Hilbert space, Wallace choreographs a dance of distentions not all of which appear as characters that are for purposes of the dance indistinguishable from the envelope of fatality with whose topological surface they interface and from whose curvature and parallax they fail to deduce their imprisonment in a paint-by-number Las Meninas that seems drawn to scale by the Logico-Tractator himself.
Of course the juxtaposition of these two commercial enterprises so near the jugular of today's post-hippie and unde-Reaganized over-the-counterculture is hardly fortuitous. As with Wallace's literary predecessors Joyce, Barth, Pynchon, and Coover, no detail in his fiction is ever fortuitous.
And, as suggested earlier, we are encouraged to conceive this triangulation as being disposed within unpredisposable space—a space which no topology dominates or molds dimensions to its particular shape or vectoral agenda—indeed, a space wholly congenial to the one-act play of facts Wallace has mounted on a grammaturgical stage fitted a-scenically, in arena style, with three blind sides.
It is these facts, one should hasten to point out, that both figure on and configurationally activate the loom of coincidence on which Wallace's narratological woofs warp and his equivocating back-and-forths shuttle.
Because facts are modal, and that modality is synonymous with the conditions language imposes on that reality constructed according to pictures which meaning assembles out of those same facts that make up the atomic structure of the only world we know. Wallace likes this view of things because in mirroring the tradeoffs at the heart of Wittgen-stein's own philosophical career it splits the problem of the solipsistic down the middle by salvaging knowledge at the expense of a Cartesian knower and by denying private languages the role of spoiler ceded them by the later, more mistycal Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations.
Dingle and Barry D. And it concerns parameciae in human saliva that make for the true magnetic north in all their mediated plashings in direct opposition to big toe-seeking inflammations of Eros.
Envisioning this is not unlike trying to picture Cartesian tennis being played without so much as a Malebranchian net.
Jacobson to achieve his paean to life a workable style had to exist. I realize that this speaks against the current call for originality, but books do not need to be original in style. Classical poets always cast their works in the appropriate style, and Pynchon-prose is the appropriate mode for the current epic.Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful.
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"A strange and traumatic experience," David Foster Wallace wrote in an essay on attending the Annual Adult Video News Awards, "which one of yr.
corrs. will not even try to describe consists of standing at a men's room urinal between professional woodmen [male porn stars] Alex Sanders and Dave Hardman. David Foster Wallace, author of the essay “Authority and American Usage*,” praises and advocates for “good” writers who have a strong rhetorical ability, which he defines as “the persuasive use of language to influence the thoughts and actions of an audience” (Wallace ).
Page 1 of corrected proof of David Foster Wallace’s essay on the U.S. Open for Tennis magazine. In , Jay Jennings, a former editor of Tennis magazine, commissioned David Foster Wallace to write an article about the U.S.
Open, which was published as “Democracy and Commerce at the U.S. Open” one year later. David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace, who died in , was the author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and the short story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair.
In his essay “Federer Both Flesh and Not” (originally published in ), David Foster Wallace argues a simple thesis: Roger Federer’s tennis game is beautiful. Since Federer is probably the most accomplished men’s tennis player of all time, Wallace’s statement might seem uncontroversial.