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A Supposedly Fun Thing Essay Summary Statement

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments4.27 · Rating details ·  28,300 Ratings  ·  2,216 Reviews

In this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facilIn this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction, including the bestselling Infinite Jest....more

Paperback, 353 pages

Published February 2nd 1998 by Back Bay Books (first published 1996)

Summary

In this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction, including the bestselling Infinite Jest .


Author Notes

Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987).

Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jest (1996) which introduced a cast of characters that included recovering alcoholics, foreign statesmen, residents of a halfway house, and high-school tennis stars. He spent four years researching and writing this novel. His first collection of short stories was Girl with Curious Hair (1989). He also published a nonfiction work titled Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present. He committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46 after suffering with bouts of depression for 20 years.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Booklist Review

Celebrated Illinoisan writer Wallace's meganovel, Infinite Jest (1996), was megasuccessful, and these intelligent, funny essays are outstanding. In "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley," Wallace presents himself as a young Midwest tennis star with an unathletic, intuitive, yet winning style of play. But Wallace writes about far more than the sum of his self, widening his field of vision to embrace wind, earth, and mathematics, creating a virtual cyclone with his highly idiosyncratic perceptions, perfectly correct cadence, and casually hip lexicon. He applies this arsenal of literary power tools to even greater effect in one of the most original, comprehensive analyses yet of television and the pervasive "culture of watching," discussing such fine points as the tyranny of television's institutionalized, self-referential irony and its tremendous influence on American fiction. Wallace has also written in his edgy way about David Lynch, a state fair, and, in the masterful title piece, his addling experiences on a seven-night Caribbean cruise during which he endured hours of despair interrupted by moments of stunned amazement. --Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Like the tennis champs who fascinate him, novelist Wallace (Infinite Jest; The Broom of the System) makes what he does look effortless and yet inspired. His instinct for the colloquial puts his masters Pynchon and DeLillo to shame, and the humane sobriety that he brings to his subjects-fictional or factual-should serve as a model to anyone writing cultural comment, whether it takes the form of stories or of essays like these. Readers of Wallace's fiction will take special interest in this collection: critics have already mined "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" (Wallace's memoir of his tennis-playing days) for the biographical sources of Infinite Jest. The witty, insightful essays on David Lynch and TV are a reminder of how thoroughly Wallace has internalized the writing-and thinking-habits of Stanley Cavell, the plain-language philosopher at Harvard, Wallace's alma mater. The reportage (on the Illinois State Fair, the Canadian Open and a Caribbean Cruise) is perhaps best described as post-gonzo: funny, slight and self-conscious without Norman Mailer's or Hunter Thompson's braggadocio. Only in the more academic essays, on Dostoyevski and the scholar H.L. Hix, does Wallace's gee-whiz modesty get in the way of his arguments. Still, even these have their moments: at the end of the Dostoyevski essay, Wallace blurts out that he wants "passionately serious ideological contemporary fiction [that is] also ingenious and radiantly transcendent fiction." From most writers, that would be hot air; from one as honest, subtle and ambitious as Wallace, it has the sound of a promise. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The painfully hip Wallace toured state fairs, relaxed on a cruise ship, and now tells us what it's like. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.