Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Infinite Jest, Ted Gioia and the Fragmented Novel

Recently I’ve had bit of time to play around with and I decided to reattempt reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (1996), an enormous tome I had long ago abandoned after only a third had been read. I’m making good headway and most importantly I’m enjoying the experience. So stay tuned for a review – eventually.

The nature of Infinite Jest has led me to do a bit of reading about trends in literature and I stumbled across a brilliant essay written by Ted Gioia about the rise of the fragmented novel. It is well worth reading and helps put into perspective many significant novels of the last ten years or so, such as Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) and Roberto Bolano’s 2666 (2004).

Ted Gioia is an author, musician and cultural theorist. His biography is well worth checking out, as is the list of essays at the bottom of the linked page. Gioia has written much-lauded books about Jazz, but the one I’m most interested in is The Birth (and the Death) of Cool (2009), which is:

…a work of cultural criticism and a historical survey of hipness—his concept of post-cool, outlined in this work, was highlighted as one of the "ideas of the year" by Adbusters

Sounds pretty cool to me! One day when I finally finish Infinite Jest I’ll get around to reading it. Meanwhile Gioia has also written an essay on Infinite Jest – something to be going on with then.

Artwork pictured: Fragments by Henie

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeremy,

    I just wanted to let you know that I had the draw for the three old Penguins (Ariel/The Bad Seed/An Error of Judgement) this afternoon, and your name came up. I'm very pleased - you'll be able to ponder the Nick Cave connection if you read the green Penguin, and I thought Ariel was a wonderful book; I hope you will enjoy reading it as well.

    Can you email me using the link on my blogger profile? I'm working full-time at present, but I could possibly come and see you in the library on Saturday if you are still there, or I could post them to you if that is more convenient.

    Best wishes,