Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Going Through En. 24 More Carefully
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:47 pm 
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I decided to go throuh en. 24 a bit more carefully on this read through. It was interesting to see a lot of familiar names that I had missed the first time. Unexpected appearances by both Schtitt and Ross Reat (the first member of the Clipperton Brigade) were a treat. Also interesting were that Disney Leith, Schtitt, Urqhart Ogilvie, Jr. and Pam Heath all ended up as teachers at ETA. (Did I miss any? There may be more.) A couple of questions came up that I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on:
  • It seems that in YTMP, JOI decides to ditch Latrodectus Mactans Productions for P.Y.E. It also appears that his work becomes heavily autobiographical. I'm wondering if every P.Y.E. production can be found in the regular IJ text in one form or another.
    • Valuable Coupon Has Been Removed is a retelling of the first time JOI gets interested in annular fusion.
    • Baby Pictures of Famous Dictators is a documentary on ETA's Eschaton.
    • As of Yore is another from JOI's childhood.
    • (At Least) Three Cheers ... is about the construction of ETA
    • Dial C for Concupiscence appears to be an extended meditation on Avril's many infidelities
    • It Was a Great Marvel... is the professional conversationalist
    • The Film Adaptation of Peter Weiss's ... This seems to be a look at his father's inability to cope with his mother's infatuation with Brando, and his father's own envy of Brando, but it's a bit hard to say.
    That leaves:
    • Insubstantial Country; seems like this could appear in one of the listings of the medical problems JOI had, maybe when Hal's going through them for Orin?
    • Stand Behind the Man; searching for feral infant. Is this when he first meets Lyle? I lost track of what, if anything, JOI did in the concavity.
    • Low Temperature Civics
    • The Desire to Desire
    • Safe Boating is No Accident; I think this predates when JvD may or may not have been hit by acid, though it's listed as possibly being completed the following year. (I also wondered if JvD used this as inspiration for lying to Molly Notkin about why she goes about with a veil.
    • Very Low Impact;
    • The Night Wears a Sombrero; JvD is a veiled nun in this one. I think this one was also filmed pre-Thanksgiving, but not at all sure. I remember it being a bit vauge when some of these were shot during that pivotal year.
    I think that's it except for the unfinished/unreleased ones. And except for IJ(V), which has me wondering if IJ is supposed to be autobiographical in some way. Perhaps about falling in love with Avril? I suggest that because of my other question:
  • What to make of Pam Heath? She appears in 12 of his films, more than any other person. I'm assuming she's very attractive since she appears as the figure of death in several pics, and in the first attempts at Infinite Jest. He then drops her from that type of role (figure of Death & Infinite Jest) in favor of JvD. And then he (JOI) appears to hire her to teach at ETA. Seems strange that this isn't teased out more somewhere in the book.

I don't think there's a great deal to be learned about the major plot points of the book from these, but I found the speculating fun. Yet another thing that makes the book so engrossing. Would love to hear others' thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Through En. 24 More Carefully
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:45 pm 
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Great analysis, levingrad. This is a real boon, as I'd only so far matched three novel scenes with the JOI films. Yet I suspected that there more matches to be made ... but anyway, now you've gone and done the bulk of the heavy-lifting/difficult sorting. Thanks!

I've only got one thing to add, and that's the film /Pre-Nuptial Agreement of Heaven and Hell (988)/ which is mentioned on page 297 (did I remember correctly that you're reading the Back Bay edition? Me too) as being the film that made the biggest impact on JvD. This tidbit connection probably explicates or at least illumines pg.235's mid-page pronouncement, "[JvD] always sees, after inhaling, right at the apex, at the graph's spike's tip, Bernini's 'Ecstasy of St. Teresa,' behind glass, at the Vittoria, for some reason, the saint recumbent, half-supine, her flowing stone robe lifted by the angel in whose other hand a bare arrow is raised for that best descent, the saint's legs frozen in opening, the angel's expression not charity but the perfect vice of barb-headed love.'

Not that I really know what this all means (I have my ideas, but many are crazy), but I do at least see the connection.

Oh, one more thing to throw in the the mix: On page 16, toward the bottom, Hal mentions, "... [thinking] very briefly of the late Cosgrove Watt." C.W. is first listed on page 16 as having died, and I've long (well, not all that long) wondered whether he's (i.e., Cosgrove W's) the 'C' mentioned in the section that starts on pg 128. Cosgrove Watt is also one of JOI's repeat actors.

--M


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 Post subject: Re: Going Through En. 24 More Carefully
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:21 pm 
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The other thing I was thinking today (and this has probably been written on somewhere) is that in switching to P.Y.E., JOI knew he was going to commit suicide soon and wanted to set down his autobiography before he went, and attempt to communicate for his descendants what his life meant to him. Also, if I remember right, someone finds a modified microwave under ETA which may have been his working model for how he'd get his dome in the thing, suggesting a bit more premeditation in the act than Hal seems to think was there.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Through En. 24 More Carefully
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:40 am 
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I did not know about the modified microwave. That must be toward the end. I'll keep eyes peeled.


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 Post subject: Re: Going Through En. 24 More Carefully
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:24 pm 
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levingard wrote:
What to make of Pam Heath? She appears in 12 of his films, more than any other person. I'm assuming she's very attractive since she appears as the figure of death in several pics, and in the first attempts at Infinite Jest. He then drops her from that type of role (figure of Death & Infinite Jest) in favor of JvD. And then he (JOI) appears to hire her to teach at ETA. Seems strange that this isn't teased out more somewhere in the book.


There doesn't seem to be much more to say about Pam Heath, except that on p 188, Soma Richardson-Levy-etc is named JOI's "third-favorite actress". Since "Madame Psychosis" is pretty clearly #1, that leaves Pam Heath or possibly Marla-Dean Chumm as #2. I appreciate your counting the appearances, that makes a good case for Heath as the prime candidate for second place.

The filmography is a gold mine of intratextual references. Some of it's straightforward JOI biography (As of Yore, see pp157-169. (Three hours? Jesus Christ!)), the documentaries give hints and implications of what the ONAN world is like, and a lot of them are sort of conceptual commentaries by DFW-as-JOI.


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