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):
- What books do you think are necessary preparation (or prerequisites) for reading Infinite Jest? What would you like to have read before hand (or glad you read beforehand) in order to “get” the book?
- What would you do differently if there were another Read-a-thon next summer? What would you change if we could start over?
- Would you ever consider reading Infinite Jest again? Under what circumstances?
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…