Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Mimi's Post and DFW's Wariness of Conceptual Traps
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:23 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Madison, WI
Mimi Smartypants writes:*
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Infinite Jest feels very real, with the underlying premise that we MUST read, write, or talk ourselves out of the metafictional spiral; that it is actually urgent that we connect with the world, not hide from it with drink or drugs or television or literary skill....


Absolutely. The wink and nudge of "literary skill" in postmodern/meta fiction is in some ways a copout--a sad admission of meaninglessness in a world with no anchor--rather than the playful jab it pretends to be.

James Ryerson wrote about DFW's concern "that certain theoretical paradigms — the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever trickery of postmodernism — too casually dispense with what he once called 'the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community.'" **

Ryerson's article on DFW's undergraduate philosophy work argues that DFW's honors thesis "casts a revealing light on the early stages of his [DFW's] struggle to use the powers of his formidable mind for the higher good: to protect against the seductions of the intellect, and to find solid ground for his most urgent and heartfelt convictions." I suppose that, in a way, Wallace was addressing in a literary way many of the same issues that Wittgenstein dealt with in a philosophical way.***

* Mimi Smartypants's article: http://infinitesummer.org/archives/106
** Ryerson's article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/magaz ... ace-t.html
*** Overview of Wittgenstein: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wittgenstein/


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 Post subject: Re: Mimi's Post and DFW's Wariness of Conceptual Traps
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:42 pm
Posts: 14
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus resounds with WTFness. 'Philosophical Investigations' seems pretty excellent, but I've not read it yet and know it only by abstract from an intro philosophy course.


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