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Week 11.5: Prerequisites and Reflection

With classes now in full swing it’s hard to devote time to any pleasure reading, much less Infinite Jest–so I apologize for my late post. In terms of Infinite Jest, I have two different thoughts that keep coming back. The first has to do with one of my classes, a course on James Joyce’s Ulysses. I have been so entranced by this book it reminds me of starting Infinite Jest, the intricacy unmatched and the ground covered seemingly limitless. It’s exciting–until I realized that with similar themes and motifs that seem to inform the other, (Hamlet, suicide, paralysis, humor, attention to detail, references, among other things) makes me want to go back and reread Infinite Jest once I finish Ulysses (clearly Joyce came first). This feels like crazy talk and yet I am already starting to see how finishing Ulysses will better my reading of Foster Wallace. As many English professors have told me, great literature gets better the more you read and the more you know. To understand the references to and imitations of Ulysses in Infinite Jest opens up a powerful new reading.

So should I just start over?

Well here are my three questions for people to answer this week (along with any other comments you have on the book, where you are and what you’re thinking):

Happy reading and keep it up. We’re almost done. It seems silly to give page numbers at this point but let’s aim to finish by the end of the month! That’s next Wednesday September 30th! Jacob suggested Tunnel City…

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#1 Comment By Jr. Mom On September 22, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

Hi S. Fox,

I have been following your posts, although I have to admit that I had to put put I.J. aside. I had some other reading to which I had to commit, and well…I do hope to get back to Wallace and finish the book at some point.

In the meanwhile, someone sent me this interview with the guy (John Krasinski) who adapted “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” for the screen. He also directed it, and with a pretty amazing cast, Julianne Nicholson, Timothy Hutton, and others. The interview has interesting commentary about DFW, some of it based on contact that Krasinski had with him before he died.

Thanks for your commentary on I.J. and hope you enjoy this interview.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/20/PKVK19FIVN.DTL