Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:34 pm 
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Endnote 304 is, of course, a doozy (pg 1055-1062). You're first directed to it from pg 89, via endnote 39's endnote b, and then again from endnote 45 (and maybe others). Is it enough to acknowledge that there will be info in 304 about AFR and people being struck by trains? Or should I read it now. I guess I should suck it up and read it now. Right?

I love this book already.


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:30 pm 
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You could...but. I think some of the notes are cited "sub." as a way of saying "more on this later, the details aren't important yet, they are more pertinent later." Same with other notes referring to "supra", meaning..."remember, we discussed this before?"
fwiw, I think on my first read, I read 304 at its first referral from note 39, but when I got to the real 304, I felt it was was necessary to read it again. Being in my third read now, I'm less inclined to complain about having to re-read...but wait a minute...there's somethng going on with the structure here isn't there?


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:12 am
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Location: Los Angeles
Thanks for the heads up, denisess, about the "sub" and "supra", I hadn't really noticed that.

I read Endnote 304 right as I got to in from Page 89 -> Endnote 39. At first, I was a little disappointed to "leave" the section of the book to go read ten pages of endnote material, but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this endnote, and laughed a lot at Struck's response to this ridiculously academic paper. And then when I got back to the actual discussion between Marathe and Steely, I felt I understood Marathe's background a lot better.

On a related note about endnotes - how carefully did everyone read the Filmography of James Incandenza?? I have to admit, I skimmed it all, but didn't absorb much. However, at the end of the Marathe and Steely section (where we had to leave to go to Endnote 39/304) we find out there is a connection between the attache/Hal's Mom/Hal's Dad in that something he created caused the deaths - the "Entertainment". So now I'm thinking the Filmography will be more important than I thought...


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:16 am 
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Location: DC
I adored the huge endnote with J. Incandenza's filmography. The titles and descriptions are hilarious... a lot of the films I could envision: quirky and dark, to the extent that that's possible. Circled the ones I thought were particularly clever. Others I found referenced to later on in the novel, which makes for a bunch of small "a-ha!" moments. e.g. Homo Duplex.

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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:24 am 
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Posts: 75
You MUST read all endnotes. They are not speed bumps. They are part of the book. Enjoy them.


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:45 am 
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I'm reading for the first time, just started on Sunday... I'll say that I didn't read endnote 304 yet, although I flipped to it to try to figure out why it was mentioned where it was mentioned.

But, I would say to those who are curious, I read J. Incandenza's bio very closely, and I think it's rather important. At the very least, it gives you an idea of the year names, in order. But probably more importantly, it's clear to me that at least one of the films will be a main plot point in the book, and another was already a previous chapter. My guess is that the films will continue to be a part of the story as the book moves forward.


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:15 am 
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Thanks, denisess for the sub/supra tip. testforecho: I'm definitely not debating IF to read the note, just WHEN.

After I started this thread, I did go and read 304, and like facetioushorse, enjoyed it thoroughly, and feel it added to my understanding of the Marathe section. And it helped explain wtf is going on with Canada.

The filmography: mostly, I read it and let it wash over me. But I did notice that Soma kept marrying her costars and adding surnames. Also, it was helpful with understanding the names of the years.


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:13 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles
kayayarai, I spent about 30 minutes "perusing" the filmography, but you've mentioned some details that sound interesting, and now that it's clear that these films are not just listed completely for fun, but will come up later, in ways that are probably central to the story, I am going to give it a closer re-read. I think I paid most attention to the titles and descriptions, but the rest of the details escaped me.

A lot about the Canada/USA situation was clearer to me after reading endnote 304 as well!


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 86
Location: North Dakota
The filmography is a big sloppy sponge full of information, teasers, and ponderables. I'd bookmark this fn and go back to it now and again...there are a lot of movies very clearly linked to events in the story. One thing I wonder about is what meaning there is behind the changes in production studios Himself uses...is it significant, coy, or DFW coming up with different studio names for the sake of coming up with different studio names?

Lactrodectus Mactans is the latin name for the Black Widow Spider.
Poor Yorick is, of course, Hamlet
Meniscus is a curve that can be convex or concave
Heliotrope can refer to a color (pink/purple), an instrument that uses mirrors to reflect sunlight that's used for triangulations in land surveys, plants turning toward the sun.

As to Heliotrope Films Ltd, I'm going with the triangulation instrument meaning of the term.


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 Post subject: Re: When should one read endnote 304?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Posts: 63
Location: Fresyes, CA
testforecho wrote:
You MUST read all endnotes. They are not speed bumps. They are part of the book. Enjoy them.

Not only are they speed bumps, I've always felt they were a hacky device. It's the main reason I've been so put off by this book for so long. A writer can be postmodern, have an ear for prose, say something, and not risk turning his/her work into an Escheresque structural nightmare.

That being said.

Is DFW a Godlike figure who we should assume put everything on Earth, or rather, in his work, for a reason? Are we supposed to be tripped up by his little pranks, or, as some people do, delight in them? I've never felt that way about literature. It has a life of its own, and not everything down to the semicolon was put their by design.

The book is yours now. Read the footnotes whenever you want. Or don't read them at all! Best yet, get a six-pack down you and read them all at once, before you read the book, and then repeat once after. You also do not have to enjoy them, but if you don't, you will not be refunded the price of the book. Perhaps you should adjust your liquor dosage, though.


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