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Infinite Jest Index

In 1996, David Foster Wallace published Infinite Jest. In 2009, hundreds of people across the inter-web were part of Infinite Summer, an open invitation to read DFW’s magnum opus and participate in forums, discussions, and to create their own blogs.  Because my many posts on Infinite Jest are now buried deep in this blog, here is a list of all the posts, along with a brief quote.

  1. Why Am I Reading Infinite Jest? “What will I find in Infinite Jest? Will it shine a new light on the dimensions of a life lived at the turn of a millennium and the near-end of the modern world-system?”
  2. Kate Gompert: On Confusing Authorship with Autobiography “DFW was able to provide a lucid, painful expression of depression. But this lucidity does not make it autobiography.”
  3. “… it seemed like it had to have been a bad sign, though.” (Orin’s Dread, Part I) “Trapped, enclosed, separated from the human world for eternity, the screams of the entombed caught in an echo chamber in which they are never heard except by the locked away consciousness itself.”
  4. Why Infinite Jest Doesn’t Really Count as Science-FictionIJ has no intention of drawing out a single, unique strand of social opposition or disarray and magnifying it. Just the opposite: it is in the vast, plural cacophony of issues that the creative voice emerges.”
  5. Yrstruly and DFW on Race (and Tattoos) “Yrstruly’s vernacular is not a cognitive question, nor an issue of race, but a sophisticated mechanism for private and meaningful communication such as develops in all marginalized caste-cultures.” [Update: as an experiment, I've moved this post to a "password protected" site.  My blog gets all sorts of hits from folks looking for tatoos of black people" or pictures of certain basketball players, and something about this just strikes me as weird.  If you want the password, drop me an email or comment, and I'll pass it along to you!]
  6. Joelle and Too Much Fun (a 1980s Story)All day, all night, scrape in the wee hours. No class, smoke straight through. Leave only for burritos, beer, and fresh cartons of cigarettes. The Substance never slackened, never dulled, never misled, refused to abandon us, or us it.”
  7. Orin’s Dread, Part II “Orin seeks to escape himself, his contingency, and his death by fleeing from the sophisticated (because deeply personal and individuated) expectations of tennis and and submerging himself in the purely public adulation of football, with its pre-individuated stadium yowls.”
  8. Three Cheers For DFW! “Eschaton makes clear the difficult relationship between a text and a ‘real’ world, by confusing the Eschaton ‘scenario’ or ‘map’ with the actual territory being traversed by the E.T.A. students.”
  9. On O.N.A.N.ite Politics “I propose that the considerations of O.N.A.N.-ite politics are more absurdist or, to coin a term, bizarrist than they are speculative.”
  10. Sir Osis of Thuliver Gets in Touch With His Feelings “To know that we live in a fully permeated environment is to be entombed, not simply by a coffin or a bed or a Cage or a Substance, but by the denseness of the universe itself.”
  11. Holy Schtitt, A Revenant! “When Schtitt called Hal his revenant, a French word for specter or spirit, that which returns to haunt or otherwise horrify the living, we knew that some ghost or other would play a role.”
  12. The Mystery of the Entertainment Master “We are led a few more steps along the path of understanding the circuitous journey of the Entertainment.”
  13. Schtitt on Two Worlds (vs. Buddhism) “The Schtitt-self is as thematically and philosophically important as the Gately-self. They give different answers. Schtitt offers being, and Gately offers non-being.”
  14. Orin’s Endless Fall (Orin’s Dread, Part III) “Orin is, to put it simply, frustrated that he is unable to establish the necessity of his existence for more than a brief and fleeting moment.”
  15. Scorn of Death “There is something quite vicious about the creative demises that have been met, and there is a way in which DFW revels in the telling of them that alternately provokes, disgusts, horrifies, as well as amuses, amazes and fascinates.”
  16. Nothing Left Inside Hal “Anhedonia is a cover for the reality that geuine humanity has a sentimental core. We are shown masks of cynicism, ennui, and jaded irony, and we wear them at that age when we are most susceptible to the fear of loneliness.”
  17. Post-Ironic Sentiment “But since DFW denounced irony – both inside and outside IJ – we are left wondering why he makes use of so many of tools of so-called post-modern, ironic literature.”
  18. Learning From the Technical Interviews “Trying to figure out the sense of this plot is like putting together a used puzzle that comes in a bag instead of the original box with the picture on it. You’re never sure if all the pieces are actually there.”
  19. The Peemster and the Littlest Hoax “The ‘Peemster’ has been responsible for some of the funniest incidents, but alas, he has occasionally become careless, and his final prank is poorly timed with the accidental Tenuation of John Wayne.”
  20. The Triumph of Life (The Walk-On of James O. Incandenza, Part I) “Our long-awaited ghost has finally shown up – a visiting wraith in the dreamy, partially conscious imagination of Don Gately.”
  21. Living in the MomentI wonder whether he was experiencing the ‘space between two heartbeats’ as he worked so hard just to get through that first day or so.
  22. Figurant / Revenant (The Walk-On of James O. Incandenza, Part II) “This timely figurant-like self-identification helps us to consider, whatever was wrong with J.O.I. in the first place?”
  23. A Few More Pieces of the Puzzle “Even at this late stage, a few previously lingering questions are nonetheless finding answers.”
  24. Ghostwords and Lyle the Semi-Wraith (The Walk-On of James O. Incandenza, Part III) “Not believing in the wraith is like not believing in the airborne toxic event of White Noise.”
  25. Endings I: Like a Roach Under Glass (or, Orin’s Dread, Concluded) “Orin’s fate reminds us that a post-ironic narrative and world exploration is potentially quite different from the highly personal self-conscious accounts that come from existential literature.  The doom associated with the former is less spun out of naked contingency than it is out of a tapestry of interwoven connections.”
  26. Endings II: The Annulation-Text “There are multiple ways in which the characters wend their way into the Year of Glad. There are clues that are more or less present, and more or less consistent.”
  27. Top Posts of Infinite Summer “I collect here all of my favorite Infinite Summer posts from some of my favorite bloggers from the last three months.”
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