picked this up on a whim and loved it.

picked this up on a whim and loved it. I didn't like what little of his non fiction I had read before but this was an entirely different animal. What're your thoughts on it? What Wallace should I read next?

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    lol

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >I didn't like what little of his non fiction I had read before but this was an entirely different animal
      I now realize this looks kind of stupid lmao. I'm aware TPK is fiction. I tried A Supposedly Fun Thing and couldn't get into it a few years ago until TPK

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I will recommend the obvious. Read Infinite Jest. It's pretty good. Don't obsess with it being a "masterpiece" or you will be disappointed. If you treat it as a good and enjoyable book, you will have a great time.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      I've always heard the opposite actually, that it's severely overrated and only read by dorks or something. I'm honestly worried it won't hold a candle to TPK more

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >I've always heard the opposite actually, that it's severely overrated and only read by dorks or something.
        This is said by people who haven't read the books and take offense to DFW's ideas about irony and postmodernism
        >I'm honestly worried it won't hold a candle to TPK more
        I haven't read The Pale King despite owning it, but I read Infinite Jest earlier this year and loved it. As long as you know to read the endnotes you should be fine.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Maybe I am said dork, but in my opinion Infinite Jest far outstrips TPK. TPK just isn't finished, it certainly had the potential to be a masterwork, but it doesn't cohere as a whole. We essentially have a collection of short stories, some of which show enormous promise, but I expect he was less than half way through the process of writing. His ambitions were extraordinarily high, which they needed to be to top IJ, but unfortunately they weren't quite fulfilled. There's pathos in the incompleteness certainly but also many signs that this is not yet up to DFW's usual perfectionistic standards. Infinite Jest has the same qualities of humour and originality and brilliance as TPK but it actually has a structure, overarching plot and pay-off. It's the rare thing of a maximalist novel that isn't actually a "loose baggy monster" but actually quite tightly, ingeniously constructed and well-deserving of its reputation as among the greatest books of the 20th century.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >It's the rare thing of a maximalist novel that isn't actually a "loose baggy monster" but actually quite tightly, ingeniously constructed and well-deserving of its reputation as among the greatest books of the 20th century.
          Yeah, once you reread it (if you indeed do decide to do that), it’s crazy to realize how what seemed like throwing so many of these characters, backgrounds, and subplots at you in what seems at first like an overwhelming, disorienting way, is actually very tightly constructed. Lots of foreshadowing, things that seemed like throwaways at first being revealed as more background of characters you’ll get to know more later, etc. It’s almost to the point it almost feels a little overdone on a reread, like almost every chapter or section is doing something like that. Like the early one with the mysterious tripod in the woods and you going, “OHHH, this was that foreshadowing of the wraith’s activities that shows up more explicitly some hundreds of pages later.” Like it’s almost all purposeful, surprisingly so. It’s impressively constructed, and I’m not very good at talking about it, but I hope that got the point across.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I've only read IJ once, and while I did have a great time with it, I thought a lot of the point of the huge digressions (like Bruce ? Green's backstory, Erdedy, Johnette, Poor Tony, the ebonics bit, yrs truly's junky xmas, the detailing of the nuclear tennis game and the French Canadians losing limbs on train tracks, etc.) was to humanise and explore the everyday human texture of, well, life. I'm not trynna be facetious, but is much of this "loose bagginess" revealed on a reread to be like "ohhh that changes everything"? Re: the Entertainment, Hal, the wraith, etc. Thanks

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I think you raise a valuable point that has essentially been a main theme for the argument of this thread, whether authors have intentions for absolutely everything, and I agree with you that they don't, because that's not usually the way the creative mind works -- the meaning usually reveals itself after creation. For a maximalist author like DFW, he presents an excessive amount of information -- the Eschaton game definitely a notable example -- sometimes for the sake of it and because it's a humorous, Rabelaisian excess, same with "Irrelevant" Chris Fogle and the fact psychic Claude in TPK. The difficulty of DFW's readers is definitely in trying to parse just how much information is "relevant" and what is not, and that sometimes raises meta questions like what do we even mean by relevance, what can we truly dismiss as irrelevant in interpretation of novels. I like the aside from Dave Wallace in TPK that "What renders a truth meaningful, wortwhile, &c. is its relevance, which in turn requires extraordinary discernment and sensitivity to context, questions of value, and overall point -- otherwise we might as well all just be computers downloading raw data to each other." I don't think DFW has any definitive answers about what is and is not relevant in a work of art, any more than we have any definitive answers about what is relevant in our lives, but at least his work gets us to pay attention to the incredibly difficult question of how we pay attention to both novels and the world.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        IJ and TPK are closely related and TPK is partly meant to teach people how to read IJ, he took the aspects of IJ which people had trouble and made them explicit; narrator tells you upfront that he is a convention and tool of the author and can only be trusted within that context, plot is done away with to show how structure works in relation to theme independent of plot, stylistic changes are highlighted by having them tied intimately to what is important in the section and so on.

        But sacrifices were required, most everything is reduced to a convention and made explicit including the characters who are largely static and seem more concerned about fulfilling their function to the novel than living their lives. IJ does not suffer from this, conventions are mostly tacit and the characters have life, Gately and Hal each have more depth to them than all of the characters of TPK combined.

        I like TPK more but I would say IJ is a better novel.

        Maybe I am said dork, but in my opinion Infinite Jest far outstrips TPK. TPK just isn't finished, it certainly had the potential to be a masterwork, but it doesn't cohere as a whole. We essentially have a collection of short stories, some of which show enormous promise, but I expect he was less than half way through the process of writing. His ambitions were extraordinarily high, which they needed to be to top IJ, but unfortunately they weren't quite fulfilled. There's pathos in the incompleteness certainly but also many signs that this is not yet up to DFW's usual perfectionistic standards. Infinite Jest has the same qualities of humour and originality and brilliance as TPK but it actually has a structure, overarching plot and pay-off. It's the rare thing of a maximalist novel that isn't actually a "loose baggy monster" but actually quite tightly, ingeniously constructed and well-deserving of its reputation as among the greatest books of the 20th century.

        >but it doesn't cohere as a whole.
        Sure it does. Some parts are in various states of draft including a few bits which were clearly in the first draft state but everything is there.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >everything is there
          Considering that the published novel is just about half of the manuscript and DFW believed the manuscript itself only 1/3 finished the year prior to his death I don't think this is a viable reading of DFW's intentions. Post (literal and figurative) death-of-author I think your reading of TPK as purposefully unplotted, maybe in a meditative act on the nature and motivations of reading itself, is potentially interesting. But it's certainly impossible to know how a final TPK might've looked.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >1/3 finished the year prior to his death
            You again. Go ahead, post the proof of this, you never do and just offer dead ends. No, D.T. Max does not say this in the obit or biography and believing this would also require Michael Pietsch lying about it and DFWs outlines and notes being 2/3rds incomplete. It also requires believing he fully realized theme and structure without 2/3rds of the book.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I'm not whatever anon you were arguing with before, but the fact others have responded in the same way perhaps should indicate to you that you are arguing a fringe position. D. T. Max does say this in a New Yorker article (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/03/09/the-unfinished). Michael Pietsch also fully recognises the incompleteness of the novel in his editor's note -- he of course argues that there is "one could support a contention" of intentional incompleteness, in the same way people argue for the beautiful incompleteness of many works of art, but also that "there is no question that TPK would be vastly different had he survived to finish it".
            Don't you think it's possible you are responding to a makeshift wholeness of structure that has been imposed by Michael Pietsch which doesn't reflect DFW's intention? That is a perfectly respectable position -- the power of editing, as eg. Ezra Pound's influence on The Waste Land shows, can do powerful things with a work of art -- but it would just be more sensible in acknowledging that the author might have had (and probably did) have very different intentions for the final product.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Where in the New Yorker article does it say that? No one can ever say and I did not see it, when I read it, all I found regarding the length of TPK was from a letter to Franzen
            >In 2004, he wrote to Jonathan Franzen that to get the book done he would have to write “a 5,000 page manuscript and then winnow it by 90%, the very idea of which makes something in me wither and get really interested in my cuticle, or the angle of the light outside.”
            Which suggests he intended the book to be around 500 pages long, right about where it is. Possible I missed where it goes into that TPK was intended to be 1500 pages but considering no one can ever provide anything more than "trust me bro, it is in there," I don't think I missed it.
            >"there is no question that TPK would be vastly different had he survived to finish it".
            Read the rest of that paragraph, he elaborates on what he thinks would be different and these are not structural things which he goes over earlier on in the intro including the plotlessness. Pietsch also goes over his editing process and I think we can say it is safe that Pietsch did not impose his own structure, its too complete and well tied up for that unless Pietsch is lying about his editing.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >Where in the New Yorker article does it say that?
            Ctrl+F "third" within the article.
            Even supposing that letter from 2004 was final in his intentions, which of course seem to have been developing and changing, one has to admit surely that a 5000 page book winnowed by 90% would still be very different from a 1000 page book cut in half. Personally I believe the novel would've been longer since TPK was nicknamed "The Long Thing" in its drafting stage while the published book isn't particularly long, and I also personally believe there are also internal and thematic hints that DFW seems to have intended it to be a lot longer -- eg. chapter 9 where DFW describes in a footnote the "huge and heavy" Buddha statues and what may be hidden "right here before us all, hidden by virtue of its size". It seems to me that his intention at one point was to create an enormous challenge of a purposefully long, tedious storm of information as part of his continued thematic meditation on boredom, attention and entertainment in the modern world.
            >Read the rest of that paragraph
            I don't know precisely which part of Pietsch's note you are referring to because it's not the rest of that paragraph, but I personally can only find limited support from the editor's note as a whole for the contention that the novel is complete and structurally whole. He does state the "pages of the manuscript were edited only lightly" but that is referring to the words on the page rather than the structure, Pietsch DID have to majorly edit ("not an easy task") the sequencing of the chapters -- which is surely not a minor structural adjustment at all. It's a difficult topic without access to the manuscript obviously. I don't see at all how you can argue it is "complete and well tied up" when Pietsch himself doesn't believe this, unless you are arguing that it's complete only because the completed novel was also supposed to trail off, like DFW's note says "a series of setups for things to happen but nothing ever happens", but that's sort of begging the question.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >third
            So around a year before his death Wallace estimated it was one third complete but did not specify what the "one third" referred too, length of the finished work? the writing process including all the drafts and revisions? the entire process including editing and publishing? Considering the estimate was to his agent it is safe to say it was in reference to the entire process up to editing since that is what is important to an agent.
            >because it's not the rest of that paragraph,
            What? The rest of the paragraph goes on to explain what he thought would change. Do you not know how paragraphs work?
            >The Long Thing
            He could have been referring to the act of its creation being what was long, something he mentioned elsewhere and there are quotes about that in the article
            >not an easy task
            That refers to assembling the book, not editing it and he explains why the assembly was difficult, Wallace's outlining style was notes preceding and following sections covering where things went and where they came from, In the paragraph on editing he explains his editing process. Beyond that the rejected chapters which have been released strongly support what it is, despite being very different and conflicting with the book as published they still work towards the same structures and themes. We also have Pietsch's comments regarding the central story and ending where he goes over the various ideas Wallace considered, which are in line with what we have.

            Your taking things out of context. Sure, we don't know what it would have been but we have a cohesive novel with a well formed structure and nothing to support that it would have been 1500 pages long. Fine if you want to believe it would have been but don't act like there is proof of this.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            One might reasonably assume, without further clarification, that by a "third" he was referring to the process of writing the whole book, there is little to suggest otherwise. Same with your interpretation of "The Long Thing" as length in time, you're beginning with the premise you want to be true -- that the book is complete and has a definitive structural coherence -- and then distorting the facts to fit this narrative. It would be nice if that were true, but that's not the novel we have, only a possible illusion of that.
            The final paragraph of the editor's note does not say what you think it does. It is noting some minor imperfections of the language of the text but not reflecting on the structural development of the whole -- it does not claim that those would exclusively be the final changes of the text.
            The assembly of the text is surely one of the most important aspects of the book's structure, not to mention just how much Pietsch cut. He described the organization of the manuscript "a challenge like none I've ever encountered". This would not be the case if DFW had presented a structurally coherent manuscript at the beginning. And also, not all of the rejected chapters have been released -- as far as I know only 23 pages, nowhere near the full 1000 of the manuscript.

            I really can't believe the hypocrisy or blindness of claiming that I'm ignoring context. On the Paperback edition of the novel I have, the subtitle is "An Unfinished Novel". On the Wikipedia page of The Pale King the critical responses note its "shattered state" (Lev Grossman) and how it is "incomplete and weirdly fractured" (Benjamin Aslup). You are ignoring all of common sense to begin with the premise that the book is complete even though authorial comments, the comments from editor, and the nature of the text itself all suggest otherwise. And you haven't yet given any concrete details of what this "well formed structure" is, which is far from obvious from a reading of the novel given, as you admit, its fragmentation and plotlessness.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >MY ASSUMPTIONS ARE CORRECT!
            Ok.
            >And you haven't yet given any concrete details of what this "well formed structure" is
            You never asked.
            >which is far from obvious from a reading of the novel given, as you admit, its fragmentation and plotlessness.
            Structure is not a synonym for plot, you can structure a novel off of any literary device, technique, random idea, etc and this can be very linear even if the story is not, you don't even need an actual story.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >Structure is not a synonym for plot, you can structure a novel off of any literary device, technique, random idea, etc and this can be very linear even if the story is not, you don't even need an actual story.
            That just begs the question again. If you define literary structure in such an amorphous way then of course the book is structured, because as long as there is similarity of theme and device. Most definitions of structure require development and movement across a work, not a static jigsaw puzzle of connected pieces. Very little differentiates your idea of structure from theme. And yeah, go ahead, what are the devices by which in your opinion Wallace "structures" TPK?
            Thematically the main problem with your interpreation as I see it is that you are viewing DFW as incredibly abstract and postmodern in his intentions for TPK even when his previous output all show signs of much more clearly defined plots and structures and character development -- and suddenly TPK just throws this development of New Sincerity back out of the window, and DFW's movement away from the alienating hyperintellectualism and disorienting structures of Barth/Pynchon, just because?

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            *as long as there is similarity of theme and device you can "define" it as structured

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >Most definitions of structure require development and movement across a work
            All of those things can develop and create movement and plot can made be static. Theme and metafiction are the primary structures and they both have development and movement across the work. Almost want to say it is solely the metafiction but we have parts of the book which develop theme independent of the metafiction and can just about draw two parallel lines through the novel representing theme and the meta. But it is meta and purposefully difficult to untangle in this case which is meta in of itself with the whole filtering data for what is important aspect of TPK and the meta offers many rabbit holes of infinite meta metaness to trap people who fixate solely on the meta.
            >you are viewing DFW as incredibly abstract and postmodern in his intentions for TPK
            Structure is where we primarily see the postmodern influence with Wallace but using things other than plot as structure is far from abstract or postmodern, this goes back to the modernists (actually earlier) who often reduced plot to a banality which provided no meaningful movement or development.
            >and suddenly TPK just throws this development of New Sincerity
            The only connection Wallace had to new sincerity is his saying it was a movement doomed to fail before it began. TPK does not throw anything away, it builds on IJ and its methods. Plot is not IJs structure, plot in IJ primary works against structure, it distracts.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Plot was decoupled and made banal with the Gothic, I believe. 18th century Gothic. Accounts were already presented out of sequence and events didn't move anything along until someone had a revelation and epiphany. It's all chugging repetitions of genteel life until someone finally cracks. I don't know, I see a lot of gothic influence in DFW.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Sure, there is a fair amount of prior experimentation but I don't know of anything before the modernists and related movements which fully replace plot with a different structure, even character driven works don't really replace plot with character until stream of consciousness becomes established. Many first person narratives come really close and we have various epistolary works as well but plot still plays an important role in structure and understanding. There is a massive gray area here and descending into it served no purpose to my point so I coved it with the parenthesis of "actually earlier."

            And I am sure there are earlier examples than the modernists, there always are.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I can agree to disagree on this fundamental difference of interpretation at least. His relationship with postmodernism and metafiction and irony is very complex, especially in volumes like Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, there's undoubtedly ludic postmodern elements in his works which he never wholly draws away from and because of the irony interlinked with postmodernism it's both difficult to take it seriously or to identify precisely what is the trap of the "infinite meta metaness" as you say. But plot is important in IJ and absolutely related to structure just in the same way that characters are deeply important, because DFW actually wrote books to connect with people (the real point of both literature and language), because after TBoTS and rehab he became less interested in writing books for the academy and more interested in talking about difficult, personal issues like addiction. You can identify Victorian elements just as you can identify metafictional ones, and I believe it's a truly great novel because you can interpret it like Gravity's Rainbow if you so chose, but it's also not that different of a novel from Middlemarch or Brothers Karamazov. I think there's a lot more continuity between realism and postmodernity than you claim and they never wholly leave plot structures behind -- even something like Finnegans Wake has realist "plot" elements which are significant even though it's about as concerted an effort there's ever been I think to write an anti-novel entirely.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Meta introduces new analytical perspectives and these perspectives apply to the entire work, we can analyze TPK as the novel written by David Foster Wallace or the memoir written by David Wallace, the first is the literal analysis where we analyze it as what it literally is, the second is the metafictional analysis where we analyze it as it represents itself. But things are not so simple with TPK, in the Author's Foreword Wallace introduces the meta by way of the this statement is false paradox, all of this is true, which we know to be false (right?). He then goes on to explain what the novel/memoir is and is not and each step of the way he introduces more metafictional perspectives even explaining that it is not a metafictional titty pincher which gives us the paradoxical literal as metafictional. This is the whole filtering data thing he goes on about in the novel, he is telling you how to read it; we have to find the correct metafictional perspective and if we don't we end up doing meta-meta-analysis, the various meta aspects of the novel feedback into the meta-analysis like a pair of mirrors facing each other and we get overwhelmed with more data than we can possibly deal with.

            Through the novel literal we have theme developing in a very linear and plot like fashion, parallel to it we have the metafictional analysis which unlike every other meta novel does not really provide a new perspective, it just provides a metafictional perspective on the development of theme, as I said in my first post itt the meta is sort of a way to check your answers. A little over simplified and it does more than that but it doesn't really offer a new perspective which is weird and kind of paradoxical and very much right in line with who Wallace was as a writer.

            This is all far too complex for it to be a coincidence or caused by editing, any change in the novel cascades through the entire work and it all collapses, a minor change requires major revision. There are a few minor hiccups in it caused by the sections which are still in early draft state but nothing major and the meta and the literal track each other quite closely and resolve pretty much the same way and at the same point.

            I never said that plot was unimportant in IJ, it is important in the way it pushes against theme but plot is not how we understand theme in IJ.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I have some issues with how I said some of that, about to fall asleep here. The short of it is that the metafictional in TPK is a metafictional exposition of theme and develops the same as theme does. Assuming you find the correct metafictional perspective which you find out if you got wrong fairly quickly because you get dumped into infinite meta metaness.

            This is easily my favorite meta novel, it makes me happy just thinking about it.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            For the reasons I state above from what the editor's note states I find your interpretation highly improbable, I also find it extremely overly analytic and abstract in a way that doesn't accord with how most people read novels or how DFW talked about novel-writing in interviews, and it also requires ignoring his patricidal relationship to Barth to make DFW possibly one of the most egregiously academic novelists there's ever been. I can't help but feel your search for the "correct metafictional perspective" is a Quixotic postmodern endless quest for a missing centre, when the metafictional references of the author'9s foreword seems to me just humorous play, and it also has something of a paranoid and conspiracy feel in its improbability (ie. absolutely everything in this document is connected, "any change in the novel [...] and it all collapses"). There's no way a novel interrupted by the author's suicide was that carefully considered, and I don't believe it's his secret suicide note, it's just an unfinished project. This kind of paranoid search for hidden meaning in absolutely everything is not a healthy way of looking at art in my view -- and I would perhaps urge you to consider reading thinkers like Louis Sass/Iain McGilchrist who have identified similarities between postmodern art and thought and schizophrenic thinking. Nevertheless your interpretation would be extremely interesting if it were true, and I can tell you've thought about this novel extremely deeply, but the kind of structure you posit seems to me to need a long paper or even book to make concrete and actually prove as a viable academic contention. And good luck to you if you ever do write something like that, but in all honesty from the extent of complexity that you believe the novel would have, I worry the project might have the danger of running away into an endless meta and analytic rabbit hole.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Also to tack onto this, I would urge you to re-read the 6 first paragraphs of the editor's note which describes in what state Pietsch found the drafts. It does give a much better and clearer picture of the extent of Pietsch's input on the creation of the novel than I stated earlier. I think I wasted a lot of unhelpful words earlier arguing based on the latter paragraphs because I didn't (bother to) re-read the whole note. Although I'm also sad that I am focusing so much on the note when it'd be much nicer to talk about Wallace's words which is surely the point of having literary discussions. I am glad you're happy thinking about the novel at least which is surely the main point, but I do also worry about people who seem to build castles in the air and get sort of lost in the labyrinth and hall of mirrors (aka Lost in the Funhouse) of paranoid thinking about literature and sometimes lose sight of common sense.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Did you even read the novel? You have been avoiding talking about it directly this entire time and just talk around it and try and interpret it through everything but the novel itself. The meta permeates the entire novel and informs it right down to style where he constantly tries to get you to see it as a literary work and analyze it as such instead of just a story. It doesn't require a long paper to prove, it just takes understanding how metafiction works and not writing off the foreword as just breaking the fourth wall and ignoring the rest of the metafictional content in the book as you seem justified in doing.

            This is all right in line with Wallace as a writer and the novel with all its stuff about filtering data and doing what is tedious and difficult without giving into boredom and playing little games to entertain yourself like Lane Dean Jr. does, TPK gives you those games so you can avoid getting bored and doing the work.

            damn bro, not many people on this forum can still analyze like this. are/were you a grad student? i'm majoring in philosophy/history, but wish I chose lit because i can't analyze for shit

            Nah, no school. After years of being an avid reader I suddenly found myself wanting to write and I knew I had no where near the understanding of literature to write the sort of stuff I wanted to right so I devoted most of my freetime for about 18 months going over and over a handful of books figuring out every last detail and nuance, and when I was at work or going about my day I listened to the audio books. Thankfully what I learned applied to literature as a whole and did not just make me autistic about a handful of books, I did not consider that as a possible outcome when I started.

            >He then goes on to explain what the novel/memoir is and is not and each step of the way he introduces more metafictional perspectives even explaining that it is not a metafictional titty pincher which gives us the paradoxical literal as metafictional. This is the whole filtering data thing he goes on about in the novel, he is telling you how to read it; we have to find the correct metafictional perspective and if we don't we end up doing meta-meta-analysis, the various meta aspects of the novel feedback into the meta-analysis like a pair of mirrors facing each other and we get overwhelmed with more data than we can possibly deal with.
            Can you go into detail on this? You lost me here.

            Not completely sure what you are having difficulty with, would be helpful if you gave me a clue or attempted to rephrase it in your own words so I can see where you are off. I will attempt a different tack and see if that helps. The meta in TPK works much like Fogle's long bit, we either identify how Fogle conveys information so we can properly interpret his endless recursion and revision or we end up having the same "revelation" as he does in the end. With the meta if you don't identify how it functions you tend to end up analyzing the meta itself without the context, meta analysis of meta feeding back into itself. While he introduces possible meta perspectives in the foreword they do not remain static, most are built off knowing who David Wallace is and how much of his memoir is true which he fricks with us on throughout the novel and does things like plant the seed that Dave Wallace and Chris Fogle maybe the same person which if we want to explore means we have to throw away everything we have accepted on the metafictional level up to that point and start over because we can not possibly keep track of all the possible permutations. You either figure out how the meta functions in context to the novel or you end up running in place.

            Better?

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >plant the seed that Dave Wallace and Chris Fogle maybe the same person
            >realize all the characters could be idealized or thinly veiled versions of DW
            >or is it DFW?
            >if DW the thinly veiled or idealized version of DFW what does that make everyone else in relation to DFW?
            >but DW is not thinly veiled or idealized but not completely made up
            >or is he?
            >this is a novel written by DFW so all the characters relate to him in the same way
            >but if all the characters are thinly veiled or idealized versions of DW...
            I was doing pretty well up to that point when I read it then spent two weeks trying to figure this out before giving up and embracing ignorance so I could finish it and move on with life. Think it might be time for round 2, youhave given me a completely undeserved confidence.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            lol, good times. Things will be easier on your reread if you identify who David Wallace in the novel outside of the parts he narrates in the first person, figure out the dirty little nick name his coworkers have for him.

            >it's an alcoholic dfw anon thread
            Been awhile. Always good reading when an anon decides to challenge him.

            I have been sober for most of this thread, hence my responses being limited to once every 12 hours or so. Well, not sober but not drunk, still have the end of the night beer.

            >You have been avoiding talking about it directly this entire time [...] and try and interpret it through everything but the novel itself
            Okay, I'm going to quote from the novel: "I'm not going to be one of those [readers] who pretends to remember every last fact" -- it's been a while since I've read the novel. Nevertheless, I think the context in which the novel is embedded is deeply important to consider before you begin to interpret the words of the page. This I believe is the problem with your analysis, not only that is quite abstract and vague and difficult to translate into tangible terms, but that it is operating as though the novel is an entirely closed system of references -- to the point where even the editor's note, the basic facts of the novel's creation, begin to become completely contradictory to what you require for your interpretation. It's exactly the problem that DFW is talking about in The Broom of the System, you're operating within a closed solipsistic system where signifiers only relate to other signifiers, so no wonder it all appears only a meta game to you. I'm not dismissing the meta elements entirely but the context of the novel and who DFW was, including the very first few pages, make the novel solely as a meta-game interpretation a bit improbable. It's a novel about boredom, indeed a meta subject, but also about attention about as an ethical act. Another quotation from the novel: "A mess is information without value". Once the novel stops being about what people value in the world, when it stops relating to the real world, it becomes a pure meta-mess. DFW is trying in some ways, to save us from this, to help us pay more attention to the things that really matter.

            I said the meta is exposition on theme, not an interpretation. This is not abstract or vague or difficult to translate into tangible terms, these are techniques which are over a century old and have been commonplace for the better part of a century. So what is the purpose of the meta in TPK? Why does he spend so much time developing it if it serves no purpose? Discuss the book and stop playing games. You don't have to remember every word, its been 4 years since I last read it and that was my second read, first time was when it came out.

            I think you raise a valuable point that has essentially been a main theme for the argument of this thread, whether authors have intentions for absolutely everything, and I agree with you that they don't, because that's not usually the way the creative mind works -- the meaning usually reveals itself after creation. For a maximalist author like DFW, he presents an excessive amount of information -- the Eschaton game definitely a notable example -- sometimes for the sake of it and because it's a humorous, Rabelaisian excess, same with "Irrelevant" Chris Fogle and the fact psychic Claude in TPK. The difficulty of DFW's readers is definitely in trying to parse just how much information is "relevant" and what is not, and that sometimes raises meta questions like what do we even mean by relevance, what can we truly dismiss as irrelevant in interpretation of novels. I like the aside from Dave Wallace in TPK that "What renders a truth meaningful, wortwhile, &c. is its relevance, which in turn requires extraordinary discernment and sensitivity to context, questions of value, and overall point -- otherwise we might as well all just be computers downloading raw data to each other." I don't think DFW has any definitive answers about what is and is not relevant in a work of art, any more than we have any definitive answers about what is relevant in our lives, but at least his work gets us to pay attention to the incredibly difficult question of how we pay attention to both novels and the world.

            We can talk about IJ if you prefer and remember it better, it works much the same way but with plot in place of the meta.

            I hope my final note: the biggest problem of your interpretation as you have presented it is that it is prescriptive. You believe you have found the "correct metafictional perspective". The point of literary analysis and discussion is not a singular perspective, but appreciation of ambiguity and a field of perspectives. When the literal facts and context of the novel's creation disagree with you, namely that it is an unfinished novel compiled by the editor, and therefore certainly cannot yet have any singular "correct" interpretation, no matter how brilliant your analysis, your interpretation is neither interesting nor true. It is merely complex. And as DFW shows us in TPK, complexity is not truth, since mere information is disorder -- truth is found when this information is filtered through context and value.

            So all interpretations are correct except for mine? Not that I ever offered an interpretation, been talking about structure. The perspective introduced by the meta is the same as the perspective introduced by a character, there is correctness to that perspective, we can't just say Fogle is a troony and should be interpreted as a frustrated women trapped in a mans body, we have nothing to support that.

            We can talk interpretation if you want.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >You have been avoiding talking about it directly this entire time [...] and try and interpret it through everything but the novel itself
            Okay, I'm going to quote from the novel: "I'm not going to be one of those [readers] who pretends to remember every last fact" -- it's been a while since I've read the novel. Nevertheless, I think the context in which the novel is embedded is deeply important to consider before you begin to interpret the words of the page. This I believe is the problem with your analysis, not only that is quite abstract and vague and difficult to translate into tangible terms, but that it is operating as though the novel is an entirely closed system of references -- to the point where even the editor's note, the basic facts of the novel's creation, begin to become completely contradictory to what you require for your interpretation. It's exactly the problem that DFW is talking about in The Broom of the System, you're operating within a closed solipsistic system where signifiers only relate to other signifiers, so no wonder it all appears only a meta game to you. I'm not dismissing the meta elements entirely but the context of the novel and who DFW was, including the very first few pages, make the novel solely as a meta-game interpretation a bit improbable. It's a novel about boredom, indeed a meta subject, but also about attention about as an ethical act. Another quotation from the novel: "A mess is information without value". Once the novel stops being about what people value in the world, when it stops relating to the real world, it becomes a pure meta-mess. DFW is trying in some ways, to save us from this, to help us pay more attention to the things that really matter.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I hope my final note: the biggest problem of your interpretation as you have presented it is that it is prescriptive. You believe you have found the "correct metafictional perspective". The point of literary analysis and discussion is not a singular perspective, but appreciation of ambiguity and a field of perspectives. When the literal facts and context of the novel's creation disagree with you, namely that it is an unfinished novel compiled by the editor, and therefore certainly cannot yet have any singular "correct" interpretation, no matter how brilliant your analysis, your interpretation is neither interesting nor true. It is merely complex. And as DFW shows us in TPK, complexity is not truth, since mere information is disorder -- truth is found when this information is filtered through context and value.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            damn bro, not many people on this forum can still analyze like this. are/were you a grad student? i'm majoring in philosophy/history, but wish I chose lit because i can't analyze for shit

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >He then goes on to explain what the novel/memoir is and is not and each step of the way he introduces more metafictional perspectives even explaining that it is not a metafictional titty pincher which gives us the paradoxical literal as metafictional. This is the whole filtering data thing he goes on about in the novel, he is telling you how to read it; we have to find the correct metafictional perspective and if we don't we end up doing meta-meta-analysis, the various meta aspects of the novel feedback into the meta-analysis like a pair of mirrors facing each other and we get overwhelmed with more data than we can possibly deal with.
            Can you go into detail on this? You lost me here.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    >the pale king
    That’s what I call my penis

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Read his short story collections in order.
    >The Girl with Curious Hair
    >Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
    >Oblivion: Stories

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      any particular reason of reading them in order? Brief Interviews seems pretty cool, though I'm sure they're all great

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        To see him grow, duh

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    >it's an alcoholic dfw anon thread
    Been awhile. Always good reading when an anon decides to challenge him.

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Anyone have screencap of sweaty hands anon reading this book?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      That is IJ, not TPK. Also, move on.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Also, move on
        Never

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