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David Foster Wallace A Finite Jester. Born in Ithaca, New York in 1962 but was raised in Champaign, Illinois. (His parents were academics and his father.

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Presentation on theme: "David Foster Wallace A Finite Jester. Born in Ithaca, New York in 1962 but was raised in Champaign, Illinois. (His parents were academics and his father."— Presentation transcript:

1 David Foster Wallace A Finite Jester

2 Born in Ithaca, New York in 1962 but was raised in Champaign, Illinois. (His parents were academics and his father taught at U of I in the philosophy department; his mother Sally was a teacher and wrote a book of grammar exercises titled Practically Painless English). Like Plath, some of his work indicates a complex relationship with his parents, as one of his short stories talks at long length about the depression a mother faces and its effect on a loving son.

3 Was a regionally ranked junior tennis player growing up in Illinois, causing a lifelong fascination with the sport: Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes: growing up as a good but not great tennis player in the Midwest String Theory: essay that follows Michael Joyce, an aspiring pro player on the ATP Tour Roger Federer as Religious Experience: puzzles out what makes Federer such an unbelievable player His big novel, Infinite Jest, has two central locations, one being an elite tennis academy in Massachusetts, the other a halfway house in Boston.

4 Infinite Jest (1996) His great American novel published on a MacArthur (genius) grant in Plot: The plot partially revolves around the missing master copy of a film cartridge, titled Infinite Jest and referred to in the novel as the samizdat. The film, so entertaining to its viewers that they lose all interest in anything other than viewing it and eventually die, was the final work of the main character Hals father James.

5 Infinite Jest Cont. Quebecois separatists are interested in acquiring a master, redistributable copy of the work to aid in acts of terrorism against the United States; the U.S. is fighting back. While this is occurring characters seek treatment for substance abuse problems at the Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House in Boston. (In the novels future world, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are a superstate. Corporations bid for naming rights to each year).

6 DFW Themes and Style Fiction and nonfiction is often concerned with irony and its place in U.S. society: irony soaks communications these days, and individuals long for earnest communication in a media-saturated, cynical world. Highly literate, show-offy, verbose writing style: big words and a penchant for footnotes and endnotes. Educated humor.

7 A Supposedly Fun Thing Ill Never Do Again (1996) Also takes up the problem of consumerism and entertainment in American society The essay was originally published as "Shipping Out" in Harper's in Sent by Harper's on a 7-Night Caribbean (7NC) Celebrity Cruise aboard the Zenith, which he rechristens the Nadir, Wallace describes what he sees as the middlebrow excesses exhibited during his trip. …the mass-market cruise experience itself…It seems to care about me. But it doesnt, not really, because first and foremost it wants something from me.

8 …back to the bio Received MFA from University of Arizona Taught at Pomona College in California. Had a relationship with famous memoirist Mary Karr ( The Liars Club ) but later married a painter, Karen Green

9 Death Committed suicide by hanging himself on September 12, 2008 Wallace had suffered from depression for more than 20 years and antidepressant medication had allowed him to be productive; in 2007, his doctor allowed him off the meds and his depression returned.

10 If time Wallace preached a sort of radical earnestness: speaking the truth is the only way to live. His exhaustive, complex sentences are part of this enterprise: human interaction and experience is incredibly complicated, and to speak the truth requires describing something from many angles.

11 Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Movies where stuff blows up, loud parties -- all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name's Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, and, in various ways, religion -- these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.

12 Exercise Now that youve had some exposure to Wallaces writing style, describe an interaction or experience youve had in the past few weeks in a paragraph using DFWs approach: try to dig deep into the motivations and emotions that you had during the event, and try to describe the event in the most exacting terms youve ever used. Obviously this should be a slightly longer paragraph!


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