In 1996, David Foster Wallace published his second major novel 'Infinite Jest' that changed not only our understanding of what literature can do but, also the way we read literature. Despite its age, the book has not lost a single bit of its fascination, its actuality, and its academic appeal. With its hundreds of characters, thousands of pages, hundreds of endnotes and myriads of different perspectives, sub-plots, and narrative digressions, 'Infinite Jest' was, and still is, an extraordinary challenge for its readers as well as literary critics. One interesting question related to Wallace's work is to what extent readers are able to establish, and defend their own way of approaching literature, their natural reading habits, their personal boundaries, and their 'readerly authority' that are challenged by their discourse with the book. The author shows in how far the reader of 'Infinite Jest' has to get involved in this work of play, how it affects the way they read the book, and how the idiosyncratic reading experience finally becomes an integral part of the whole book itself.
Infinite Jest has been hailed as one the great modern American novels and its author, David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008, as one of the most influential and innovative authors of the past 20 years. Don DeLillo called Infinite Jest a "three-stage rocket to the future," a work "equal to the huge, babbling spin-out sweep of contemporary life," while Time Magazine included Infinite Jest on its list of 100 Greatest Novels published between 1923-2006. David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide was the first book to be published on the novel and is a key reference for those who wish to explore further. Infinite Jest has become an exemplar for difficulty in contemporary Fiction-its 1,079 pages full of verbal invention, oblique narration, and a scattered, nonlinear, chronology. In this comprehensively revised second edition, Burn maps Wallace's influence on contemporary American fiction, outlines Wallace's poetics, and provides a full-length study of the novel, drawing out the most important themes and ideas, before surveying Wallace's post-Infinite Jest output, including The Pale King.
"Elegant Complexity is the first critical work to provide detailed and thorough commentary on each of the 192 sections of David Foster Wallace's masterful Infinite Jest. No other commentary on Infinite Jest recognizes that Wallace clearly divided the book into 28 chapters that are thematically unified. A chronology at the end of the study reorders each section of the novel into a sequential timeline that orients the reader and that could be used to support a chronological reading of the novel. Other helpful reference materials include a thematic outline, more chronologies, a map of one the novel's settings, lists of characters grouped by association, and an indexed list of references. Elegant Complexity orients the reader at the beginning of each section and keeps commentary separate for those readers who only want orientation. The researcher looking for specific characters or themes is provided a key at the beginning of each commentary. Carlisle explains the novel's complex plot threads (and discrepancies) with expert insight and clear commentary. The book is 99% spoiler-free for first-time readers of Infinite Jest."--Publisher's website.
This is part of a new series of guides to contemporary novels. The aim of the series is to give readers accessible and informative introductions to some of the most popular, most acclaimed and most influential novels of recent years - from ‘The Remains of the Day' to ‘White Teeth'. A team of contemporary fiction scholars from both sides of the Atlantic has been assembled to provide a thorough and readable analysis of each of the novels in question.
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2010 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, TU Dortmund (Institut fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik), language: English, abstract: In 1996, David Foster Wallace published his second major novel 'Infinite Jest' that changed not only our understanding of what literature can do but also the way we read literature. With its hundreds of characters, thousands of pages, hundreds of endnotes and myriads of different perspectives, sub-plots and narrative digressions, Infinite Jest was and still is a extraordinary challenge for its readers. An interesting question related to Wallaces work is to what extent readers are able to establish and defend their own rules and boundaries that are challenged by their discourse with the book. The whole reading process can thus be seen as a work of play that is established between the poles of 'infinity' and 'jest'. This opens up a new narratological dimension which has an immediate impact on the autonomy of the reader. I want to find out in how far the readers of 'Infinite Jest' have to get involved in this work of play, how it affects the way they read the book and how the idiosyncratic reading experience finally becomes an integral part of the whole book itself.
Somewhere in the not-so-distant future the residents of Ennet House, a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts, and students at the nearby Enfield Tennis Academy are ensnared in the search for the master copy of Infinite Jest, a movie said to be so dangerously entertaining its viewers become entranced and expire in a state of catatonic bliss . . . 'Wallace's exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight, and he has deep things to say about the hollowness of contemporary American pleasure . . . sentences and whole pages are marvels of cosmic concentration . . . Wallace is a superb comedian of culture' James Wood, Guardian