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: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:49 pm
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Two related questions. First of all, who noticed that the wallpaper in Tavis' office's waiting room descibed on p. 509 is the cumuli-on-blue cover of the book? (I'm asking this because I only noticed this time, my third time through, and I'm wondering if everybody else is less dense/inattentive than I.)

Secondly: Why? What makes this particular image of sufficient import to become the cover?


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:47 am
Posts: 63
Location: Brooklyn, NY
And it's also the wallpaper in Hal's dentist's office. I noticed this but I'm not sure yet why this is the cover image.

BTW Has anyone seen the cover of the spanish translation? I wish my book looked like this.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:12 am
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Location: London
I remember noticing as I was still bitter that the UK cover isn't nearly as nice as the US 10th anniversary edition cover, which is my favourite. So I suppose 2.b. could be "What makes this particular image of insufficient import to be the cover worldwide?".

dioramaorama - I am now more jealous of the world open to my Spanish speaking cousin...


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:36 pm 
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Who on earth is the family on the cover of the Spanish edition supposed to be?


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:26 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn
Motley Fool wrote:
Who on earth is the family on the cover of the Spanish edition supposed to be?


Americans. (in my opinion)


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:50 pm 
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The Spanish edition you posted is of Broom of the System, not Infinite Jest. I haven't read it, but I'm assuming the depicted family has something to do with that novel. But maybe someone who's read Broom can tell us?


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:02 pm 
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broom of the system? "la broma infinita" means "infinite jest" in spanish. broom is la escoba. i think it's just an archetypal american family.


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:31 pm 
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Infinite can mean "the unlimited expanse in which everything is located," right, or the sky? The cover would have to be a sky designed with clouds or something else that is in the sky if the title's sense of the word was going to be clear, because just an expanse of blue air pictorially could look like something other than a sky i.e. just background. The repetition of the sky-with-clouds motif in the two offices? Maybe to emphasize the motif on the cover, and hence emphasize heavenward things: God who is associated with the infinite, and "up there". (Hamlet theme--is it in the book somewhere, haven't really found it yet--looking to the sky and saying "oh all you host of heaven") That the phrase doesn't just have to do with obvious questions of content i.e. the name of a film and the "infinite" way that viewers engage with it:

The book as trying to be an unlimited expanse, or reflect the unlimited expanse of the human mind. Certainly Wallace's mind.

I look at the title "floating" up there as the subject heading for maybe like an email God began to write in the sky, which he (perversely?) will never finish. The phrase's meaning itself as the joke/jest as well as the indication (Ha! Finally, a truncated sign from that Creator we've never heard from--guess truncated is better than nothing*) that there is now and will continue to be a (very colossal, very long, even "eternal") joke. Leaving us all hanging as any cosmic trickster would. Therefore, the artist has to finish it. The artist, if he's successful, saves us from our sense of being infinitely mocked, or toyed with.


*Funny thing is if God did send us such even such a message as that at least part of the feeling of being toyed with would be nullified.


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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:36 am
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Location: Oakland, CA
OneBigParty wrote:
The book as trying to be an unlimited expanse, or reflect the unlimited expanse of the human mind. Certainly Wallace's mind.

I look at the title "floating" up there as the subject heading for maybe like an email God began to write in the sky, which he (perversely?) will never finish. The phrase's meaning itself as the joke/jest as well as the indication (Ha! Finally, a truncated sign from that Creator we've never heard from--guess truncated is better than nothing*) that there is now and will continue to be a (very colossal, very long, even "eternal") joke. Leaving us all hanging as any cosmic trickster would. Therefore, the artist has to finish it. The artist, if he's successful, saves us from our sense of being infinitely mocked, or toyed with.

*Funny thing is if God did send us such even such a message as that at least part of the feeling of being toyed with would be nullified.


Beautiful analysis, OneBigParty! In this case, the artist is also a bit of a jester, and perhaps has to be to help us through the labyrinthine infinity of the God-jester without being ruined in the process.

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 Post subject: Re: The cover of IJ
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:52 am 
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Don't remember noticing the wallpaper before. As far as the sky image otherwise in the book, the main descriptions of the "literal" sky in the book I can remember off the cuff are:

-the several references to the Boston Sky having to be protected constantly by the ATHSCME fans* pushing back the pollution of the concavity
-the special case of the snowstorm during Eschaton
-the mostly clear skies above Marathe/Steeply that allow for the early image of their (M & S's) shadows extending essentially infinitely over the city below them.

Given the way the Boston skyline is under constant threat of the return of that which it has cast away from itself in hopes it will not return, and the connection of this general image of casting away to the other themes of escaping and/or mediating the self in the book the idyllic sky of the book cover suggests things like a nostalgia for clear skies or the artificial imposition of "clear skies" that might be caused by viewing the entertainment (or taking various substances, etc) or just an ideal goal in general. So especially cool to have this image pop up in Tavis' office, since he is the paragon of "total worry," the complete antithesis of idyllic blue skies of the mind/self. The snow-as-sorta-image-of-nuclear-winter during the Eschaton game is, of course, an image of an extreme of losing the blue skies.

*Ever since my first reading of the book, I cannot read the ATHSCME name without hearing Morrissey, back in his Smiths days, singing in my head "ATHSCME ATHSCME ATHSCME ATHSCME ATHSCME ATHSCME because if it's not love, then it's the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb that will keep us together!"


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