Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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 Post subject: Why the bad French?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:53 pm
Posts: 4
Surely DFW knew that it's "fauteil roulant" not "de rollent." There were some other little things that caught my attention--can't re-find them all, but for example the construction "it made the shrill whistling sounds" is un-idiomatic. It can't just be sloppiness, can it? (Source: I was in the French school system through high school, which granted is a long time ago...) I wondered if some could be chalked up to French-Canadian dialect, but rollent at least is plain wrong. Any ideas??

Hilary


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 Post subject: Re: Why the bad French?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:50 pm
Posts: 71
Quote:
Surely DFW knew that it's "fauteil roulant" not "de rollent."


I don't know enough about French to know if this is some kind of little joke he is making. I think that DFW plays around with words sometimes (including incorrect grammar/usage), which I enjoy; he plays around with the French-English stuff quite a bit. ( I mentioned a couple things here.) On p 89 he mentions that the organization is called Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents, so it seems he knows the difference. And on p 36 he refers to the anniversaire false cognate.

It kinda reminds me how people will jokingly say "carpe the diem," or how growing up we would pronounce faux pas as 'fox pass'.


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 Post subject: Re: Why the bad French?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:53 pm
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Thanks Troybob--that's actually one I'd forgotten about, because it means "Assassins OF rolling chairs" (except that "rollent" is not a French word at all). And having lost my way in Endnote 304, I found the other glaring one I'd forgotten: Thierry as a woman's name. Easy mistake to make if you think of it as Terry, but it's actually more like Jeffrey--ie very much a male name and jarring to hear with a female pronoun.

Yes, it could be DFW playing around.... but very few English speakers would get the joke. I am still puzzled.


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 Post subject: Re: Why the bad French?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:10 am
Posts: 35
Dunno what the answer is. But maybe it's the difference between the French spoken in Quebec and Paris?


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 Post subject: Re: Why the bad French?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:57 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Los Angeles
I have a huge theory about this and Rolle's Theorem. Let's not forget that Wallace started life as a mathematician (kind of!) We talked about it at some length on Howling Fantods like a zillion years ago. But I think I will be spoilin' if I say too much more (?) I've made a note to revisit.

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