Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:15 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:29 am
Posts: 6
As we kick off this incredible venture, I keep returning to the first time I read D.T. Max's New Yorker article. At that point, I had not read anything by Wallace but had wanted to read Infinite Jest for some time. I decided to jump in. The idea of reading IJ carries all these assumptions(most of them tenuous and unexplainable at best) with it. What sort of preparation do you need for it? Why do you need preparation? What type of people are reading this book? I had started it, finally, after picking up and putting down The Broom of the System a couple of times. I was immediately taken with IJ. I enjoyed Wallace's writing in Broom, but it didn't have the same immediate emotional resonance IJ seemed to elicit from me. I am delighted to begin this venture, and hope to supplement any free time with other Wallace work. The point of this post being...what next? After those wonderfully humorous,disturbing and perfectly crafted Interviews with Hideous Men and The Consideration of the Lobster, what of The Pale King? Max pointed out that Wallace had organized his manuscript(s) at the time of his suicide. Although this suggests an acceptance of or even desire for publication, is it truly the right thing to do? The same issue has come up with Ellison and Hemingway in the past, while Nabokov's son still grapples with it. As far as the work is concerned, are readers accepting/supportive of posthumous publication, or does it seem like it's against the artist's intention? I don't wish to generalize and suggest that there are only these two ways of considering the question, but it certainly begs to be considered in light of artistic intent. I look forward to future discussions on this and all other Wallace-related topics.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 21
David Foster Wallace's works need to be published because he wished them to be so - as evidenced by the care he took to organize his manuscripts before taking his life. His work was really one of the only aspects of his life under his control, in contrast to his depression, which he fought long and bravely against. He is owed that, at least for The Pale King. I personally am desolate at his passing - and can't imagine not being able to read the work he left behind.

One can't help but contrast the intent of this website, infinite summer, which is truly a loving tribute to his memory and works, to the truly ghoulish literary criticism "industry" - so scathingly portrayed in H. James "the Aspern Papers," which seems amazingly prescient in terms of what goes on today on college campuses and publishing houses all over the world. I so enjoy reading the commentary posted on this website, as it connects us all to his work, and reflects the joy of reading his work.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
I don't think it's such a bad thing provided that the reader keeps in the mind the posthumous nature of it. I think of Kafka as one example where we wouldn't have a whole lot left otherwise.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Along similar lines, I wonder if there will ever be a annotated IJ.
Certainly not an easy process with a book already containing extensive "notes and errata" but given the 500-ish manuscript pages apparently dropped before it saw print, who knows...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:00 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
k1789 wrote:
One can't help but contrast the intent of this website, infinite summer, which is truly a loving tribute to his memory and works, to the truly ghoulish literary criticism "industry" . . .


Good criticism seeks to explain. There's a lot of bad criticism, of course. And bad criticism can be bad in a lot of different ways. But it's not fair to tar all of it with the same brush. Good criticism just fosters deeper understanding, just as the more insightful posts here do. For me, the useful stuff is focused on explanation rather than evaluation (as that is, ultimately, too subjective to bother with).

_________________
wheatdesign.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:00 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
rasnider wrote:
Along similar lines, I wonder if there will ever be a annotated IJ.
Certainly not an easy process with a book already containing extensive "notes and errata" but given the 500-ish manuscript pages apparently dropped before it saw print, who knows...


I think you'd have to go the companion guide route. And I've heard mention of a few of those already.

_________________
wheatdesign.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:36 am
Posts: 36
As far as DFW goes, because his death was suicide, if he had wanted his manuscripts to remain unpublished he would have destroyed them or at least stipulated so in his will. He seemed to be a man who was tremendously personally invested in the reception of his works, which is not to say he was arrogant, just self-absorbed in the way acutely talented people often are. I don't think he'd consider it a violation to publish The Pale King. I'm sure he wanted people to read and connect with it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is Posthumous Publishing Proper?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:11 pm
Posts: 91
I have no problem with publishing of Pale King. Would love if there was some minimally intrusive textual thing to indicate significant areas where something is missing or postumhously edited out or something (like the circles in IJ, but used as an ignore-it-or-not-your-choice way to acknowledge where the most obvious places are where the manuscript was unfinished or otherwise shows the most obvious evidence of the author not having been able to finish it.

AND THEN...I hope they destroy every alternate version/draft/whatever of his novels so we and the future don't have to listen to a growing chorus of critical careers and new editions attempting to grow from the book as sorta happened with Ulysses, for example. I'm remembering quotes from DFW about deleting backup disk versions of certain things because he knew he would be too tempted to keep going back to re-insert them/rework them after he (+/- his editors) had decided to cut them. The eternal quest for the "perfect" edition of great works is one of the most depressing and ghoulish uses of critical energy expenditure.

...Which is not the same as saying "destroy any uncollected works other thatn Pale King" -- there is a big difference between possible future publication of early or unpublished stories or articles with short, to the point notes explaining their provenance/why not previously published and turning the admittedly imperfect but still dang wonderful large texts into archeological strip mines.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Translated by MaĆ«l Soucaze © 2009 phpBB.fr