Conversations with David Foster Wallace Kindle ¾

Conversations with David Foster Wallace Kindle ¾

Conversations with David Foster Wallace ❰Epub❯ ➛ Conversations with David Foster Wallace Author David Foster Wallace – Across two decades of intense creativity David Foster Wallace 1962 2008 crafted a remarkable body of work that ranged from unclassifiable essays to a book about transfinite mathematics to vertiginous David Foster MOBI ò Across two decades of intense creativity David Foster Wallace crafted a remarkable body of work that ranged from unclassifiable essays to a book about transfinite mathematics to vertiginous fictions Whether through essay volumes A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Consider the Lobster short story collections Girl with Curious Hair Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Oblivion or his novels Infinite Jest The Broom of the System the luminous ualities of Wallace's work recalibrated our measures Conversations with PDF/EPUB or of modern literary achievement Conversations with David Foster Wallace gathers twenty two interviews and profiles that trace the arc of Wallace's career shedding light on his omnivorous talentJonathan Franzen has argued that for Wallace an interview provided a formal enclosure in which the writer could safely draw on his enormous native store of kindness and wisdom and expertise Wallace's interviews create a wormhole in which an author's private theorizing about art spill into the public record Wallace's best interviews with David Foster MOBI ò are vital extra literary documents in which we catch him thinking aloud about his signature concerns irony's magnetic hold on contemporary language the pale last days of postmodernism the delicate exchange that exists between reader and writer At the same time his acute focus moves across MFA programs his negotiations with religious belief the role of footnotes in his writing and his multifaceted conception of his work's architecture Conversations with David Foster Wallace includes a previously unpublished interview from and a version of Larry McCaffery's influential Review of Contemporary Fiction interview with Wallace that has been expanded with new material drawn from the original raw transcript.

10 thoughts on “Conversations with David Foster Wallace

  1. Lee Klein Lee Klein says:

    Repetitive and seemingly dated interviews the gist of which you've read if you've read a few interviews with him The repetition of semi stock responses about his novels and themes sounds after a while like ad copy that's trying to seduce youpersuade you into accepting DFW perception technology that helps you see the world in a smart funny empathetic way but one that after a while maybe seems to skew less on the side of true complexity than something always focused on gut level sadness of a world saturated by corporate sponsored images which doesn't really feel true to me in 2012 Maybe in the 1990s every one was very very lonely and TV was an omnipresent evil damn you Friends but a lot of that sort of talk seems pretty late 20th century pre Internet before actions by the US against the Axis of Evil before much larger evils in the world such as social media other than goodreads of course all these fractured narratives through which people feel so incredibly less lonely that the sensation of loneliness is maybe now akin to hunger in most of the US an unpleasant sensation easily ended albeit superficially It also seems that now than ever as they say longer narrative is heavy artillery in the soul fight against forces gathered by constant ecstasy of communication commentaryupdates The end of the story the essay by Lipsky that was also in his book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace about the Nardil and the weight loss and his last year is crushingly sad but most of this is the sort of talk you've heard before if you're a fan One LOL when he says that he and Cynthia Ozick are similar in that they're both middle aged New York Jewish women Maybe one or two pages turned down Interesting to see him mature over the years to go from hyper wonky literary smart alec and all over the place to something subdued and humble and of course wholly himself I'll read the DT Max biography later in the year and then the final collection of essays and then his collected letterse mails with DeLillo and Franzen and whoever else when they eventually come out but I think this one is pretty much obviated if you listen to his interviews with Michael Silverblatt about Infinite Jest and all his other books from 1996 on

  2. Keenan Burke-Pitts Keenan Burke-Pitts says:

    I have been on a DFW binge for about a year now He has sincerely enlightened me and has felt like a big brother and mentor all at once I can't write well right now but he has inspired me to improve my communication skills Reading DFW has stretched me intellectually emotionally spiritually I've lost family to mental health issues and struggled uietly with my own I think most of us do at one point or another if we are honest with ourselves and my soul aches just thinking about the suffering that he and others with acute mental health challenges faceDFW has an incredible ability to breathe into the grey area of life To see and empathize with both sides of an argument Also he's a geniusso he's got that going for him; if I ever doubted that before reading this book it's been settled He has an uncanny ability to articulate stuff that I feel on a gutsubconscious level but can't wrap my head around I know I'm not alone here and that's why I find his work so important and refreshing There are a lot of uotes I would like to share but in the interest of time here are some of my favorite insights from this book that are short paragraphsThe interesting thing is why we're so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness You don't have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness both of which are like sub dreads of our dread of being trapped inside a self a psychic self not just a physical self has to do with angst about death the recognition that I'm going to die and die very much alone and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me I'm not sure I could give you a steeple fingered theoretical justification but I strongly suspect a big part of real art fiction's job is to aggravate this sense of entrapment and loneliness and death in people to move people to countenance it since any possible human redemption reuires us first to face what's dreadful what we denyThe cliche that getting a lot of attention is not the same as getting a lot of affection takes on new dimensions when you learn it through experienceLike the fact that it takes enormous courage to appear weak Hadn't heard that anywhere else I was just starting to entertain the fact that that might be trueI'm not sure how fiction and poetry work but part of it is that really we notice a lot than we notice we notice A particular job of fiction is not so much to note things for people but rather to wake readers up to how observant they already are and that's why for me as a reader the descriptions or just toss offs that I like the most are not the ones that seem utterly new but the ones that have that eerie 'good Lord I've noticed that too but have never even taken a moment to articulate to myself'Because you want your art to be hip and seem cool to people you want people to like the stuff but a great deal of what passes for hip or cool is now highly highly commercially driven And some of it is important art I think The Simpsons is important art On the other hand it's also in my opinion corrosive to the soul and everything is parodied and everything's ridiculous Maybe I'm old but for my part I can be steeped in about an hour of it and I sort of have to walk away and look at a flower or something If there's something to be talked about that thing is this weird conflict between what my girlfriend calls the 'inner sap' the part of us that can really whole heartedly weep at stuff and the part of us that has to live in a world of smart jaded sophisticated people and wants very much to be taken seriously by those people I don't know that it's that irony tyrannizes us but the fashions that are so easy to criticize but are so incredibly powerful and authentic seeming when we're inside them tyrannize us I don't know that it's ever been any different That probably makes absolutely no sense That was my experiment at telling the truth

  3. Michael Perkins Michael Perkins says:

    According to the editor of this collection this is the most important and comprehensive interview I happened to find it online about a year ago and read it One take away was how insecure and paranoid DFW was about readers not liking his work He decided to do an odd thing intentionally make some of his writing abstruse as a kind of advance punishment to the critical readers The irony of course is that it feeds reader frustrationhttpwwwdalkeyarchivecoma conver

  4. Ted Prokash Ted Prokash says:

    For someone whose main interest is literary fiction this stuff is like porn I might as well review the new collection from Ass Enthusiast Weekly Or whatever Really interesting to get inside Wallace's head a bit at least as far as his thoughts on writing Though knowing how it all ends you realize he's holding a lot back An interviewer mentions DFW taking a couple years off from Amherst to drive a school bus as if it's a wacky eccentric little side trip when in fact you later realize he was suffering a sort of nervous breakdown and probably wrestling with the knowledge that he would one day off himself So reading these interviews you're always conscious of the dark undertones that are only alluded to superficially The biographical stuff is okay but repetitive and like I said not allowed to get too deep Wallace's philosophy on writing is very interesting; he hints at a level of self consciousness that would paralyze most artists His take on our postmodern tendency toward irony I found to be the most thought provoking thing about the book and what will stick with me the longest In the end once again the possession of genius proves to be not worth the price of admission Makes a guy glad to be a middle of the road talent for once

  5. Dana Jerman Dana Jerman says:

    You need the Introduction the Chronology and the final piece in the book by David Lipsky and you'll have a pretty complete picture of the man alongside the writing The End of The Tour being a great watch This volume is packed with the irreverent pleasure of his mindWas entering college when Infinite Jest came out and that dates me but it mention this because it was a privilege and a joy to be able to to be studying writing around that time To tap and absorb its energy and have friends who were super excited about this guy and who turned me onto him even if it took me a long time after that to figure out what I liked about him and how to approach reading him Still haven't read IJ

  6. Andrew Andrew says:

    It mostly felt like a repetition I'd read at least a couple of these interviews before and they didn't tell me much I didn't already know Sure there were some interesting stories and I got at least one book recommendation out of it that I didn't have before but this mostly felt like a recapitulation Also some of these interviews were pretty lousy local magazines emphasizing the relevance of the novel to that locality that's some cringe right there Pass

  7. Dann LaGratta Dann LaGratta says:

    This book is thoroughly enjoyable for the DFW nerd The choice to make it chronological was brilliant and I enjoyed seeing how his view points changed throughout his lifeDo bear in mind though that the articles inside were never meant to be read back to back to back so sometimes the information became rather repetitive and kind of inspired an enough already vibe in this reader This is a format issue though and due to the nature of this book series really couldn't be avoidedI do feel Mr Burn did miss out on some great interviews though DFW did a few interviews with Michael Silverblat on KCRW's Bookworm show Considering Mr Burn already hit up the Lannan Foundation for one interview The one by John O'Brien I couldn't imagine why he'd leave out such a wonderful source for further insights into DFW's writing techniue They are however available for free here did also enjoy the inclusion of the two articles that showed DFW's dickish side With the nice guy persona that DFW has in the majority of the articles it was an interesting change of paceWith that though I uestion the inclusion of the article where you can't read the interviewers uestions I understand how it was based on the format of BIwHM but really it tried to hard to be clever and nothing worthwhile came out of it It could have been easily left outI was kind of surprised that David Lipsky's obituary article ended the book seeing as it really didn't fit the theme However it is a beautiful piece and well worth reading and a great way to end the timeline

  8. Moira Russell Moira Russell says:

    It's amazing how many of these are puff pieces and how short they are Rather disappointed a lot of these are transcripts of shows where there's a great deal of chatter about time remaining and Timely Topics The somewhat gruesomely named Last Interview is coming out this December or something maybe it'll be better I think the intro said there are about seventy DFW interviews extant beats me why they didn't transcribe some of the better long ones on UTU like the fucking epic one that's in eight parts Copyright presumablyalso the inclusion of the Lipsky piece felt really really off

  9. Geoff Geoff says:

    The collection isn't revelatory as a whole you've heard this stuff before but damn it is a pleasure to revisit his voice I especially like the frustrated and obviously annoyed but still aiming toward sincere reactions to that arrogant and rather dim French man Didier Jacob's uestions And the McCaffery interview is as essential as ever

  10. ELK ELK says:

    A collection of interviews given over the course of an author's career might not seem like the best way of getting to know them but this book is surprisingly illuminating Not only as a light biography but also as an introduction to the ideas rolling around in Wallace's headAnnotations LonelinessBut there are a few books I have read that I’ve never been the same after and I think all good writing somehow addresses the concern of and acts as an anodyne against loneliness We’re all terribly terribly lonely And there’s a way at least in prose fiction that can allow you to be intimate with the world and with a mind and with characters that you just can’t be in the real world I don’t know what you’re thinking I don’t know that much about you as I don’t know that much about my parents or my lover or my sister but a piece of fiction that’s really true allows you to be intimate with I don’t want to say people but it allows you to be intimate with a world that resembles our own in enough emotional particulars so that the way different things must feel is carried out with us into the real world I think what I would like my stuff to do is make people less lonely Or really to affect people You can’t make sure that everybody’s going to like you but damn it if you’ve got some skill you can make sure that people don’t ignore you Fiction and pop cultureFiction's job used to be to make the strange familiar to take you somewhere and let you feel that this was familiar to you It seems that one of the things about living now is that everything presents itself as familiar so one of the things the artist has to do now is take a lot of this familiarity and remind people that it's strange So to take the most banal low art images from television and frompolitics and from advertising and to transfigure them OK it's sort of a heavy art gesture but Ithink it's got some validity 'I think if you can estrange this stuff and you can make people lookat say Jeopardy or an advertisement and view it not as a message from God but as a piece ofart a product of human imagination and human effort with a human agenda that there's a way inwhich you distance a reader from phenomena that I think he needs to be distanced from I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull to give her imaginative access to other selves Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering necessarily a vicarious experience like a sort of “generalization” of suffering Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain we might then also easily conceive of others identifying with our own This is nourishing redemptive; we become less alone inside It might just be that simple But now realize that TV and popular film and most kinds of “low” art—which just means art whose primary aim is to make money—is lucrative precisely because it recognizes that audiences prefer 100 percent pleasure to the reality that tends to be 49 percent pleasure and 51 percent pain Whereas “serious” art which is not primarily about getting money out of you is apt to make you uncomfortable or to force you to work hard to access its pleasures the same way that in real life true pleasure is usually a by product of hard work and discomfort So it’s hard for an art audience especially a young one that’s been raised to expect art to be 100 percent pleasurable and to make that pleasure effortless to read and appreciate serious fiction That’s not good The problem isn’t that today’s readership is “dumb” I don’t think Just that TV and the commercial art culture’s trained it to be sort of lazy and childish in its expectations But it makes trying to engage today’s readers both imaginatively and intellectually unprecedentedly hardIn most other cultures if you hurt if you have a symptom that’s causing you to suffer they view this as basically healthy and natural a sign that your nervous system knows something’s wrong For these cultures getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire’s still going But if you just look at the number of ways that we try like hell to alleviate mere symptoms in this country from fast fast fast relief antacids to the popularity of lighthearted musicals during the Depression—you can see an almost compulsive tendency to regard pain itself as the problem And so pleasure becomes a value a teleological end in itself It’s probably Western than US per se Look at utilitarianism—that most English of contributions to ethics and you see a whole teleology predicated on the idea that the best human life is one that maximizes the pleasure to pain ratio God I know this sounds priggish of me All I’m saying is that it’s shortsighted to blame TV It’s simply another symptom TV didn’t invent our aesthetic childishness here any than the Manhattan Project invented aggression Nuclear weapons and TV have simply intensified the conseuences of our tendencies upped the stakesI think TV promulgates the idea that good art is just art which makes people like and depend on the vehicle that brings them the art This seems like a poisonous lesson for a would be artist to grow up with And one conseuence is that if the artist is excessively dependent on simply being “liked” so that her true end isn’t in the work but in a certain audience’s good opinion she is going to develop a terrific hostility to that audience simply because she has given all her power away to them It’s the familiar love hate syndrome of seduction “I don’t really care what it is I say I care only that you like it But since your good opinion is the sole arbitrator of my success and worth you have tremendous power over me and I fear you and hate you for it”DFW These are exploitations They’re not trying to break us free of anything They’re trying to lock us tighter into certain conventions in this case habits of consumption So the “form” of artistic rebellion now becomes LM yeah another commodity The real point of that shit is “Like me because I’m clever”—which of course is itself derived from commercial art’s axiom about audience affection determining art’s valueAnd this accelerates the metastasis from genuine envelope puncturing to just another fifteen minute form that gets cranked out and cranked out and cranked out Which creates a bitch of a problem for any artist who views her task as continual envelope puncturing because then she falls into this insatiable hunger for the appearance of novelty “What can I do that hasn’t been done yet?” Once the first person pronoun creeps into your agenda you’re dead art wise That’s why fiction writing’s lonely in a way most people misunderstand It’s yourself you have to be estranged from really to work Irony and SincerityIrony’s useful for debunking illusions but most of the illusion debunking in the US has now been done and redone Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cageI know this doesn’t sound hip at all I don’t know But it seems like one of the things really great fiction writers do–from Carver to Chekhov to Flannery O’Connor or like the Tolstoy of “The Death of Ivan Ilych” or the Pynchon of “Gravity’s Rainbow”–is “give” the reader something The reader walks away from the real art heavier than she came into it Fuller All the attention and engagement and work you need to get from the reader can’t be for your benefit; it’s got to be for hers What’s poisonous about the cultural environment today is that it makes this so scary to try to carry out Really good work probably comes out of a willingness to disclose yourself open yourself up in spiritual and emotional ways that risk making you really feel something To be willing to sort of die in order to move the reader somehow Even now I’m scared about how sappy this’ll look in print saying this And the effort actually to do it not just talk about it reuires a kind of courage I don’t seem to have yet Maybe it’s as simple as trying to make the writing generous and less ego drivenIrony It's the style of the 1990s and many readers of ``Infinite Jest'' have used the word in describing Wallace's sensibility Wallace has done an enormous amount of thinking on the subject much of which he includes in ``E Unibus Pluram'' an essay about TV and fiction in ``A Supposedly Fun Thing'' Irony and ridicule he writes ``are agents of a great despair and stasis in US culture'' and irony once a rebel's weapon has been co opted and disempowered by pop culture ``Irony tyrannizes us'' he writes ``All US irony is based on an implicit `I don't really mean what I'm saying' '' GenreLarry McCaffery What interests fans of any genre is that they really know the formulas and the elements so they also can respond to the constant built in meta games and intertextualities going on in all genre forms In a way the responses are aesthetically sophisticated in the sense that it’s the infinite variations on a theme that interests them I mean how else can they read a million of these things real genre fans are not stupid people necessarily? My point is that people who really care about the forms–the serious writers and readers in fiction–don’t want all the forms “broken” they want variation that follows the essence to emerge in new waysDW Maybe our touchstone now should be G M Hopkins who made up his “own” set of formal constraints and then blew everyone’s footwear off from inside them There’s something about free play within an ordered and disciplined structure that resonates for readers And there’s something about complete caprice and flux that’s deadening StorytellingI'm forty two and I grew up I don't know how many afterschool specials and Hallmark network things I've seen a lot of what is uote unuote conventionally Realistic ends up seeming hokey to me The resolutions seem contrived everything seems a little bit too convenient and platitudish and the ultimate goal of it is to sell me something And there's a part of me I think that recoils from that and that's a problem because some Realistic stuff really is alive and urgent but the model and the form has been so exhaustively mined for commercial reasons that I think for a lot of us about our age we're looking for different less commercial forms in which to talk about the urgent moving stuff Depression Then for weeks he would uit drinking start mornings with a ten mile run 'You know this kind of very American sports training I will fix this by taking radical action Schwarzeneggar voice If there's a problem I will train myself out of it I will work harder

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