November 19, 2010

What Didn't Make It Into Infinite Jest

OMG. Xmas came early this year.

Notes and outtakes from David Foster Wallace's epic novel.
1. B.S. 1960 - A First-Person Narrative
2. Footnote 33: Hal Here
3. Footnote 33 Continues
4. Footnote 33 Continues Further
5. Two Additional Characters of 'The Shed'
6. Footnote 76a Continues
7. A Self-Contained Story Cut from 'Infinite Jest'
8. Footnote 81 Continues
9. Footnote 81 Continues Further
10. Footnote 81 Concludes
11. Several Vignettes Cut From 'Jest'
12. Hal's Essay On Pennies Concludes
13. Introduction of Madame Psychosis
14. A Short Essay by Hal on Ducks
15. Hal's Essay On Ducks Concludes
16. The Magazine Critique by Hal
17. Footnote 240 Continues
18. Footnote 240 Concludes
19. A Crossed Out Section of 'Jest'
20. Marlon Bain's Story About Avril Concludes
Also from Newsweek: "From the Mixed-Up Files of David Foster Wallace":
More substantially, the early drafts of Jest reveal Wallace's thinking about the lethal, DVD-like “Entertainment” at the heart of his novel’s plot — a video "cartridge" so diverting that a viewer can stop watching it only when she dies. (In one draft, Wallace considered delivering a copy of "the Entertainment" to the character of Don Gately.) There's also considerably more dialogue among the Canadian terrorists and competing intelligence agencies than Wallace's editor could personally stomach, though a full accounting of this bonus material will be manna to the leagues of Jest admirers.

9 comments:

Jon said...

I see a lot of praise for Wallace in the circles I travel online. And I enjoyed two of his essays on tennis. But doesn't he break quite a few of the rules of good writing? Or maybe I am thinking of Bill Simmons, who seems to be influenced by Wallace.

I've been reading some Zinnser lately and he preaches simplicity. Meanwhile, you could use Infinite Jest as a doorstop. I do like his system of footnotes, though, and have started to use them in some of my writing.

Benjamin said...

I thought Christmas already came in September. It's back again already?

redsock said...

But doesn't he break quite a few of the rules of good writing?

I suppose. He might ask which rules are actually worth following. See this other Harper's essay, which I think it is also in Consider the Lobster.

Or maybe I am thinking of Bill Simmons, who seems to be influenced by Wallace.

I know Wallace's name got mentioned a lot when Simmons's big basketball book came out. While I have not read much Simmons in several years, when I thought he was becoming a bit of a self-parody, I will say that having footnotes or endnotes and offering digressions is not enough to warrant a comparison. (I am speaking generally, not to your mention of him.)

redsock said...

So it did. Hmmm ...

Thanksgiving came early this year!

Jon said...

Thanks. I'll take a look at that essay when I get a chance.

Jon said...

PS - I read your story about your first visit to Fenway. Very similar to mine. My dad took me and my brother up to Fenway from Greater Hartford. I think it was in 1976. My brother claims it was 1975. I tried to search for the game. I thought that I nailed it down at one point, but I never figured it out. It may've been against KC. My dad worked for Coca Cola and they had seats somewhere behind the first base dugout. My dad would get the tix once a year or so from the company.

L-girl said...

But doesn't he break quite a few of the rules of good writing?

Zinnser is excellent if you are an average writer. He has helped me a lot. But using a yardstick of rules to measure genius is a huge mistake. I'm sure Michaelangelo and Beethoven and Bob Dylan break a lot of rules too. When you're that good, you sing your own song.

With respect, it's kind of ridiculous to judge a work of literature by how long it is.

I am not a lover of DFW's fiction (I adore his nonfiction, more than I can express), but I recognize genius when I see it. Zinnser does not apply.

L-girl said...

Also, "broken rules," so to speak, are not only for the geniuses of the world. Many other very interesting and worthwhile writers dispense with rules. Rules are good as far as they help you express yourself. When they don't, they should be thrown out.

Jon said...

I read the essay and recalled what I liked and disliked about Wallace. He is a great writer despite his overruse of abbreviations and initialisms, as well as his use of endnotes instead of footnotes (although, I forget if the latter is his choice or the editors.)

Maybe I'm biased against him because I'm the opposite of him when I write. Instead of having to cut things, I have trouble expanding my work. Thanks again for the essay.