Infinite Summer

Holy Autobiographical!
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Author:  lexmarkinkjetprinter [ Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Holy Autobiographical!

I would not consider myself a DFW fan. Nothing against the man--I'd just never read much of his stuff prior to this summer. Of course, now I'm obsessed with Infinite Jest, and when I force myself to take a break from it, I find myself, uh, looking up articles that he wrote for Harper's. (And less frequently, urinating/sleeping.) All this is to say: the hardcore DFWers among you probably know this already. But, I was fascinated to learn about Wallace's own experience as a junior tennis player (McDonald's Junior Open → WhataBurger) AND about that one time a friend's brother ate mold (which resulted in, go figure, inexplicable, over-the-top hysteria on the part of the mother) in a 1991 article who wrote for Harper's. TENNIS, TRIGONOMETRY, and TORNADOES: A MIDWESTERN BOYHOOD is the name. I will do my best to (illegally) upload the PDF; if I fail, interested parties should let me know. That you're interested, that is.

Author:  lexmarkinkjetprinter [ Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Holy Autobiographical!

Okay, I failed. If you have a Harper's subscription, go here: If you don't, I can send the PDF in an email. Booya.

Author:  konfuzed [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Holy Autobiographical!

You don't have to; all of them were put up for free after his death.

I haven't read too many of them yet, but I've liked the ones that I have.

Author:  IamStrychnine [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Holy Autobiographical!

That's also the first essay in A supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (but under a different name). Also, Hal's addiction to lexicography, and the influence of the Moms in that area, would have been strange to me, but his essay Authority and American Usage (Or, Politics and the English Language is Redundant), which is technically a book review, talks about lexicography to great lengths, and DFW talks about his upbringing as a SNOOT ("Syntax Nudniks of our Time"), which is a nickname for a grammar/usage nut. DFW wrote about how his mother would pretend to have coughing fits if one of the children made a grammar/usage mistake, and would continue with the fit until said child would identify and correct the mistake. He also goes into detail about the Prescriptive/Descriptive Grammar "war," one he makes literal in Infinite Jest (look it up, much to complicated to go into here). Very funny and fascinating essay, but for some reason a little difficult to get through for me.

Anyway, yes, I agree, IJ is slightly (or very) autobiographical.

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