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: Literary references
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 89
Location: Brooklyn
So far, it seems that there are tons of literary references - Kafka, Joyce, Shakespeare, etc - but I'm sure that most of these are going over my head. People have brought them up here and there, but I thought it might be nice to have them collected in one spot. Anyone want to add?

Also, I've been noticing subtle similarities to other works. The section where JOI and his father are in the garage reminded me of Jamaica Kincaid's story "Girl" - mainly because you get such a sense of JOI's character and voice (or lack of) without ever hearing him speak, once. In "Girl," the eponymous character only speaks twice, but those two lines provide a clearer picture of her than if she had produced a monologue. (I later found out that "Girl" was on DFW's syllabus, when he taught one of his courses.)

I also think of Barthelme a lot, particularly in the party scene around pgs. 232 - 233. There's a Barthelme short story (I can't recall the title but it's in 40 Stories) that consists of a similar collage of conversations. I'd imagine DFW was a fan?


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 Post subject: Re: Literary references
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:53 am 
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Great Gatsby is in there. There's more that I've noticed but I didn't note them down. I guess that changes tonight.


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 Post subject: Prufrock
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:15 am 
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Location: Chicagoland
In note 90, in his critique of AA, Geoffrey Day quotes T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":

Day/Wallace: "Oh do not ask what is it. Do not ask whether it's not insane. Simply open wide for the spoon" (1002).

Eliot: "Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?'/Let us go and make our visit."
AND "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."

Don Gately suggests that Day is experiencing "Analysis/Paralysis" (1002), and Prufrock may suffer from a similar condition: he's so caught up in analyzing his surroundings and doubting himself that he's unable to act. Plenty of people think that Eliot was trying to comment on the condition of the modern man (well, person). As was DFW.

Oh, and Eliot's poem also alludes to Hamlet.


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 Post subject: Re: Prufrock
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
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Location: Brooklyn
laner wrote:
In note 90, in his critique of AA, Geoffrey Day quotes T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":

Day/Wallace: "Oh do not ask what is it. Do not ask whether it's not insane. Simply open wide for the spoon" (1002).

Eliot: "Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?'/Let us go and make our visit."
AND "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."

Don Gately suggests that Day is experiencing "Analysis/Paralysis" (1002), and Prufrock may suffer from a similar condition: he's so caught up in analyzing his surroundings and doubting himself that he's unable to act. Plenty of people think that Eliot was trying to comment on the condition of the modern man (well, person). As was DFW.

Oh, and Eliot's poem also alludes to Hamlet.


AWESOME. This is why this I love this board.


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 Post subject: Re: Literary references
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:32 am
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Quote:
I also think of Barthelme a lot, particularly in the party scene around pgs. 232 - 233. There's a Barthelme short story (I can't recall the title but it's in 40 Stories) that consists of a similar collage of conversations. I'd imagine DFW was a fan?


Yes he was. I was a student in a fiction writing workshop Wallace taught at Amherst in 1987 (first he ever taught I think) and "The Balloon" was one of the assigned readings.


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 Post subject: Re: Literary references
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn
dan wrote:
Yes he was. I was a student in a fiction writing workshop Wallace taught at Amherst in 1987 (first he ever taught I think) and "The Balloon" was one of the assigned readings.


Wow. I'd love to hear your impressions of his course, if you ever felt like sharing them. I guess that's another topic altogether.


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 Post subject: Re: Literary references
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:58 pm 
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Posts: 91
"Simply open wide for the spoon"...

kinda combines the Eliot reference with the "frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork" that Burroughs "Naked Lunch" title refers to, which seems appropriate to probably the best examination of addiction in a novel since Burroughs...it strikes me a lot that DFW's talent for brilliant extended comic riffs like the one on telephony is similar to the "routines" that Burroughs was also a master off.


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 Post subject: Re: Literary references
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:23 am
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Location: County Wicklow, Ireland
I also catch glimpses of Barthleme in DFW's writing. Mainly sentence structure, or playing with and against conventions of sentence/ paragraph/ even word structure. DFW at times seems very influenced by Barthleme's playful nature and his graphic sense (e.g. the "w/r/t"s, etc.).

I am also wondering if there is a nod to Robert Coover. Especially the party conversation bits. I may be wrong here, but my memory of things like "Gerald's Party," are similar to some of DFW's sections.....


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