David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest : A Reader's Guide

3.82 (1,212 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.82 (1,212 ratings by Goodreads)

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 10.41mm | 204g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd edition
  • 1441157077
  • 9781441157072
  • 129,265

Table of contents

Preface to the Second Edition; Chronology; 1. Infinite Jest and the Twentieth Century: David Foster Wallace's Legacy; 2. Problems in David Foster Wallace's Poetics; 3. The Novel; Epilogue: Wallace's Millennial Fictions; Appendix: The Chronology of Infinite Jest; Works Cited; Index.
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Review quote

"Burn does a fantastic job of showing how the novel is put together without succumbing to the temptation of overexplaining things." -- Matt Kavanagh, The Globe and Mail "Stephen Burn's pioneering book on Wallace's masterpiece is even more valuable in this revised form. Retaining the best parts of the first edition, Burn brings a decade of fresh thinking to bear on Infinite Jest and the larger role it now plays in literary culture. Written to appeal both to fans and scholars, Burn's guide provides both an excellent introduction to Infinite Jest and (as he puts it) 'a reformulation of the coordinates of David Foster Wallace's fiction.'" -- Steven Moore, author of The Novel: An Alternative History. "Burn does a terrific job of placing Infinite Jest in the tradition of the encyclopedic novel, explaining the novel's chronology, and demonstrating the subtle points of intersection and narrative intertwining among the many plots." -- Robert L. McLaughlin, The Review of Contemporary Fiction "Stephen J. Burn has a better handle on Infinite Jest than almost anyone else I've read-he spots every allusion, every handhold, and helps the reader on the lovely, thrilling, high-altitude climb up the face -- and in the new book that grip is even firmer. It's essential gear for any first time reader, and for the veteran, it's a guide to some of the wonderful meadows and views you missed. A wonderful book." -- David Lipsky, author of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. "Although Stephen Burn's original 2003 guide to Infinite Jest instantly established itself as the indispensable Bloomsday book for the Ulysses of our era, this second edition considerably ups the ante, with two new bravura chapters that trace the rich and often overlooked literary sources of Wallace's achievement as well as the vast impact his work has had, and will continue to have, on the work of his contemporaries. In the process Burn simultaneously maps out Wallace's novel and the direction Wallace studies will pursue in the future." -- Marshall Boswell, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, Rhodes College, USA, and author of Understanding David Foster Wallace A clear indication of Wallace's influence lies in the accessible prose of his scholars. This inviting tone is clearly evident, both in Burn's newly-added career-overview of DFW's poetics and his eye-opening analysis/explanation of Infinite Jest (including a chronological de-fragmentation of the novel's main events). -- David Ball * Review of Contemporary Fiction *
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About Stephen J. Burn

Stephen J. Burn is Associate Professor of English at Northern Michigan University, USA. He is author of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (Continuum 2003) and co-editor of Intersections: Essays on Richard Powers (Dalkey Archive Press, 2008).
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Rating details

1,212 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 31% (381)
4 32% (384)
3 28% (335)
2 6% (69)
1 4% (43)
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