David Foster Wallace

3.3963302752243 (545)
Posted by r2d2 03/10/2009 @ 05:11

Tags : david foster wallace, authors, books, fine arts

News headlines
I did not know that he was dead. - Daily Kos
I just finished reading it last week, so when dirkster42 cheered books in a comment in Cheers & Jeers the other day, I sprang in and chirruped my satisfaction to the world (as it were): Just finished David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster....
Correction: David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College Address - New York Times
An essay on April 26 about David Foster Wallace's commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005, which has now appeared in book form as “This Is Water,” misstated the speech's publishing history. It was included in the collection “The Best American...
David Foster Wallace, Kenyon, 2005 - TIME
This address at Kenyon was vintage Wallace: a smart, occasionally meandering discussion of the issues that consumed him, from the banality of life to the meaning of consciousness. "I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy and...
Make 2009 an Infinite Summer - National Post
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is the War and Peace for those who prefer their literature contemporary, American. The book's heft, textual density and, uhm, endnotes, have also made it one of the more challenging reads in recent fiction....
UK Rights Sold for David Foster Wallace's Last Work - mediabistro.com
Following an auction between six houses, Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton has secured the rights to David Foster Wallace's final novel, an unfinished manuscript the author called the "The Pale King." It will be published next spring....
Graduation address: End Words - Salt Lake Tribune
Dark address by the late David Foster Wallace prompts questions about the literary art of commencement addresses. By Ben Fulton The old trope of never remembering a word spoken by your graduation ceremony's commencement speaker is so ingrained in...
Unfinished Foster Wallace novel finds UK publisher - guardian.co.uk
The late David Foster Wallace's unfinished final novel, The Pale King, is set for publication in the UK next year following an intensely contested auction between six British publishers. Foster Wallace, author of the virtuosic, 1000-page masterpiece...
SPL FINAL-DAY CLOCKWATCH - Sportinglife.com
1342: A pretty wild challenge by Scott Brown on Lee Wallace provokes an angry reaction from the Hearts man. Both players receive a ticking-off. 1341: David Goodwillie stays down after a late challenge from Bougherra but he looks like he will be OK....
Roll Call: World War II - Online Athens
Sgt. Vernon L. Dockery • Pfc. Robert L. Dooley • Seaman 1st Class Roy L. Doster of Athens • Cpl. Harry E. Epting • Pfc. Ralph Ferguson of Athens • Technician 5th Grade Carroll D. Flanagan • Pvt. John A. Foster • Pfc. Heron M. Gunter • Pvt. Cyril B....
Bankruptcy watch - Arkansas Democrat Gazette
HACKETT Roy Linn and Ginger Lee Wallace (aka Ginger Davis, Ginger Smith), 313 S. Vine St., May 18, Chapter 7. HARRISBURG Billie J. and Delores D. Mosley, 20209 Crump Road, May 18, Chapter 7. HARRISON Angel D. Gilliam, PO Box 2062, May 18, Chapter 7....

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace headshot 2006.jpg

David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, essays and short-stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He was known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which Time included in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 1923–2006).

Wallace was born in 1962 in Ithaca, New York to James Donald Wallace and Sally Foster Wallace. Is his early childhood, Wallace lived in Champaign, Illinois. In fourth grade, he moved to Urbana and attended Yankee Ridge school. As an adolescent, Wallace was a regionally ranked junior tennis player.

He attended his father's alma mater, Amherst College, and majored in English and philosophy, with a focus on modal logic and mathematics. His philosophy senior thesis on modal logic, titled Richard Taylor's 'Fatalism' and the Semantics of Physical Modality (described in James Ryerson's 2008 New York Times essay "Consider the Philosopher") was awarded the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. His other senior thesis, in English, would later become his first novel. Wallace graduated with summa cum laude honors for both theses in 1985, and in 1987 received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona.

His father, James Wallace, having finished his graduate course work in philosophy at Cornell University, accepted a teaching job at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall of 1962. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1963. His mother, Sally Foster Wallace, attended graduate school in English Composition at the University of Illinois and became a professor of English at Parkland College — a community college in Champaign — where she won a national Professor of the Year award in 1996. His younger sister, Amy Wallace Havens of Tucson, Arizona, has practiced law since 2005. Wallace married painter Karen L. Green on December 27, 2004. He had a close relationship with their two dogs, Bella and Warner.

Wallace committed suicide on September 12, 2008, as confirmed by the October 27, 2008, autopsy report.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wallace's father reported that Wallace had suffered from depression for more than twenty years and that antidepressant medication had allowed him to be productive. When he experienced severe side effects from the medication, Wallace attempted to wean himself from his primary antidepressant, Nardil. On his doctor's advice, Wallace stopped taking the medication in June 2007, and the depression returned. Wallace received other treatments including electroconvulsive therapy. When he returned to Nardil, he found it had lost its effectiveness. In the months before his death, his depression became severe.

Numerous gatherings were held to honor Wallace after his death, including memorial services at Pomona College, Amherst College, and on October 23, 2008, at NYU — the latter with speakers including his sister, Amy Wallace Havens; his agent, Bonnie Nadell; Gerry Howard, the editor of his first two books; Colin Harrison, editor at Harper's Magazine; Michael Pietsch, the editor of Infinite Jest and Wallace's later work; Deborah Treisman, fiction editor at The New Yorker; as well as authors Don DeLillo, Zadie Smith, George Saunders, Mark Costello, Donald Antrim, and Jonathan Franzen.

Wallace's first novel, The Broom of the System, garnered national attention and critical praise. Caryn James of The New York Times called it a successful "manic, human, flawed extravaganza", "emerging straight from the excessive tradition of Stanley Elkin's Franchiser, Thomas Pynchon's V, John Irving's World According to Garp." Wallace moved to Boston, Massachusetts to pursue graduate studies in philosophy at Harvard University, only later to abandon those same studies. In 1991 he began teaching literature as an adjunct professor at Emerson College in Boston.

In 1992, at the behest of colleague and supporter Steven Moore, Wallace applied for and won a position in the English department at Illinois State University. He had begun work on his second novel, Infinite Jest, in 1991, and submitted a draft to his editor in December 1993. After the publication of excerpts throughout 1995, the book was published in 1996.

Wallace published short fiction in Might, GQ, Playboy, The Paris Review, Harper's Magazine, Conjunctions, Esquire, Open City, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The New Yorker and Science.

Wallace received the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 1997. In 1997, Wallace was awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction by editors of The Paris Review for one of the stories in Brief Interviews—"Brief Interviews with Hideous Men #6"—which had appeared in the magazine.

In 2002, he moved to Claremont, California, to become the first Roy E. Disney Professor of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Pomona College. He taught one or two undergraduate courses per semester, and focused on his writing.

Wallace's literary agent during his entire career was Bonnie Nadell. His editor on Infinite Jest was Michael Pietsch.

In March 2009, Little, Brown and Company announced that it would publish the manuscript of an unfinished novel, entitled The Pale King, that Wallace was working on at the time of his death. An excerpt from the novel was published in the March 9, 2009, issue of The New Yorker.

Wallace's fiction is often concerned with irony. His essay "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction", originally published in the small-circulation Review of Contemporary Fiction in 1993, proposes that television has an ironic influence on fiction writing, and urges literary authors to eschew irony. Wallace used many forms of irony, focusing on individuals' continued longing for earnest, unself-conscious experience, and communication in a media-saturated society.

Wallace covered Senator John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and the September 11 attacks for Rolling Stone; cruise ships (the humorous title essay for his first nonfiction book), state fairs, and tornadoes for Harper's Magazine; the U.S. Open tournament for Tennis magazine; the director David Lynch and the pornography industry for Premiere magazine; the special-effects film industry for Waterstone's magazine; conservative talk radio host John Ziegler for The Atlantic Monthly; and a Maine lobster festival for Gourmet magazine. He also reviewed books in several genres for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the November 2007 issue of The Atlantic, which commemorated the magazine's 150th anniversary, Wallace was among the authors, artists, politicians and others who wrote short pieces on "the future of the American idea".

In 2006, John Krasinski began directing a filmed adaption of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, starring Julianne Nicholson and a long list of well-known character actors including Christopher Meloni, Rashida Jones, Timothy Hutton, Josh Charles and Will Forte. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.

To the top



Short story

The short story refers to a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, usually in narrative format. This format or medium tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th and 21st century sense) and novels or books. Short story definitions based upon length differ somewhat even among professional writers, due somewhat in part to the fragmentation of the medium into genres. Since the short story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actual length is mitigated somewhere between the individual author's preference (or the story's actual needs in terms of creative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the story's actual market. Guidelines vary greatly among publishers.

Many short story writers define their work through a combination of creative, personal expression and artistic integrity. As a result, many attempt to resist categorization by genre as well as definition by numbers, finding such approaches limiting and counter-intuitive to artistic form and reasoning. As a result, definitions of the short story based upon length splinter even more when the writing process is taken into consideration.

Short stories have their origins in oral story-telling traditions and the prose anecdote, a swiftly-sketched situation that quickly comes to its point. With the rise of the comparatively realistic novel, the short story evolved as a miniature version, with some of its first perfectly independent examples in the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann. Other nineteenth-century writers well-known for their short stories are Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, Guy de Maupassant, Bolesław Prus and Anton Chekhov. Short stories were a staple of early-19th-century magazines and often led to fame and novel-length projects for their authors. More recently, short stories have been reprinted in anthologies, categorized by topic or critical reception. Today many authors release collections of their short stories.

Some authors are known almost entirely for their short stories, either by choice (they wrote nothing else) or by critical regard (short-story writing is thought of as a challenging art). An example is Jorge Luis Borges, who won American fame with "The Garden of Forking Paths," published in the August 1948 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Another example is O. Henry (author of "Gift of the Magi"), for whom the O. Henry Award is named. American examples include Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.

Authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bolesław Prus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, P.G. Wodehouse and Ernest Hemingway were highly accomplished writers of both short stories and novels.

Short stories have often been adapted for half-hour and hour radio dramas, as on NBC Presents: Short Story (1951-52).

The art of story telling is doubtlessly older than record of civilization. Even the so called modern short story, which was the latest of the major literary types to evolve, has an ancient lineage. Perhaps the oldest and most direct ancestor of the short story is the anecdote and illustrative story, straight to the point. The ancient parable and fable, starkly brief narrative used to enforce some moral or spiritual truth, anticipate the severe brevity and unity of some short stories written today.

Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time.

In longer forms of fiction, stories tend to contain certain core elements of dramatic structure: exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters); complication (the event that introduces the conflict); rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action); climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action); resolution (the point when the conflict is resolved); and moral.

Because of their length, short stories may or may not follow this pattern. Some do not follow patterns at all. For example, modern short stories only occasionally have an exposition. More typical, though, is an abrupt beginning, with the story starting in the middle of the action (in medias res). As with longer stories, plots of short stories also have a climax, crisis, or turning point. However, the endings of many short stories are abrupt and open and may or may not have a moral or practical lesson. As with any art form, the exact characteristics of a short story will vary by author.

When short stories intend to convey a specific ethical or moral perspective, they fall into a more specific sub-category called Parables (or Fables). This specific kind of short story has been used by spiritual and religious leaders worldwide to inspire, enlighten, entertain, and educate their followers.

Determining what exactly separates a short story from longer fictional formats is problematic. A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to be read it in one sitting, a point most notably made in Edgar Allan Poe's essay "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846). Other definitions place the maximum word length at anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 words. As a point of reference for the science fiction genre writer, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines short story length in its Nebula Awards for science fiction submission guidelines as having a word count of less than 7,500. In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000. Stories less than 1,000 words are usually referred to either as "short short fiction" or "short shorts" or even "flash fiction".

Short stories date back to oral story-telling traditions which originally produced epics such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives were often told in the form of rhyming or rhythmic verse, often including recurring sections or, in the case of Homer, Homeric epithets. Such stylistic devices often acted as mnemonics for easier recall, rendition and adaptation of the story. Short sections of verse might focus on individual narratives that could be told at one sitting. The overall arc of the tale would emerge only through the telling of multiple such sections.

Fables, succinct tales with an explicit "moral," were said by the Greek historian Herodotus to have been invented in the 6th century BCE by a Greek slave named Aesop, though other times and nationalities have also been given for him. These ancient fables are today known as Aesop's Fables.

The other ancient form of short story, the anecdote, was popular under the Roman Empire. Anecdotes functioned as a sort of parable, a brief realistic narrative that embodies a point. Many surviving Roman anecdotes were collected in the 13th or 14th century as the Gesta Romanorum. Anecdotes remained popular in Europe well into the 18th century, when the fictional anecdotal letters of Sir Roger de Coverley were published.

In Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14th century, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. Both of these books are composed of individual short stories (which range from farce or humorous anecdotes to well-crafted literary fictions) set within a larger narrative story (a frame story), although the frame tale device was not adopted by all writers. At the end of the 16th century, some of the most popular short stories in Europe were the darkly tragic "novella" of Matteo Bandello (especially in their French translation).

The mid 17th century in France saw the development of a refined short novel, the "nouvelle", by such authors as Madame de Lafayette. In the 1690s, traditional fairy tales began to be published (one of the most famous collections was by Charles Perrault). The appearance of Antoine Galland's first modern translation of the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) (from 1704; another translation appeared in 1710–12) would have an enormous influence on the 18th century European short stories of Voltaire, Diderot and others.

Today's short stories emerged as their own genre in the early 19th century. Early examples of short stories include the Brothers Grimm's Fairy Tales (1824–26) and Nikolai Gogol's Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1831–32). The first examples in the United States are Charles Brockden Brown's "Somnambulism" (1805), Washington Irving's Rip van Winkle (1819) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820), Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840) and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales (1842).

In the latter 19th century, the growth of print magazines and journals created a strong demand for short fiction of between 3,000 and 15,000 words. Famous short stories of this period include Bolesław Prus's "A Legend of Old Egypt" (1888) and Anton Chekhov's "Ward No. 6" (1892).

In the first half of the 20th century, a number of high-profile magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Scribner's and The Saturday Evening Post published short stories in each issue. The demand for quality short stories was so great and the money paid for such so high that F. Scott Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to short-story writing to pay his numerous debts.

The period following World War II saw a great flowering of literary short fiction in the United States. The New Yorker continued to publish the works of the form’s leading mid-century practitioners, including Shirley Jackson, whose story, “The Lottery,” published in 1948, elicited the strongest response in the magazine’s history to that time. Other frequent contributors during the last 1940s included John Cheever, John Steinbeck, Jean Stafford and Eudora Welty. J. D. Salinger's “Nine Stories” (1953) experimented with point of view and voice, while Flannery O’Connor's “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1955) reinvigorated the Southern Gothic style. When Life magazine published Ernest Hemingway's long short story (or novella) The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, the issue containing this story sold 5,300,000 copies in only two days.

Cultural and social identity played a considerable role in much of the short fiction of the 1960s. Phillip Roth and Grace Paley cultivated distinctive Jewish-American voices. Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” adopted a consciously feminists perspective. James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” told stories of African-American life. Frank O’Connor’s “The Lonely Voice,” a classic exploration of the short story, appeared in 1963. The 1970s saw the rise of the post-modern short story in the works of Donald Barthelme and John Barth. The same decade witnessed the establishment of the Pushcart Press, which, under the leadership of Bill Henderson, began publishing the best of the independent and small presses.

Miminalism gained widespread influence in the 1980s, most notably in the work of Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie and Bobbi Ann Mason. However, traditionalists including John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates maintained significant influence on the form, as did Canadian author Alice Munro. John Gardner’s seminal reference text, “The Art of Fiction” appeared in 1983.

Many of the American short stories of the 1990s feature magical realism. Among the leading practitioners in this style were Steven Millhauser and Robert Olen Butler. Stuart Dybek gained prominence for his depictions of life in Chicago’s Polish neighborhoods and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried" tackled the legacy of the Vietnam War. Louise Erdrich wrote poignantly of Native American life. T. C. Boyle and David Foster Wallace explored the psychology of popular culture.

The first years of the twenty-first century saw the emergence of a new generation of young writers including Jhumpa Lahiri, Kevin Brockmeier, Jacob Appel, George Saunders and Dan Chaon. Blogs and e-zines joined traditional paper-based literary journals in showcasing the work of emerging authors.

To the top



Postmodern literature

The term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II literature. It is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature.

Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is difficult to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature. However, unifying features often coincide with Jean-François Lyotard's concept of the "meta-narrative" and "little narrative," Jacques Derrida's concept of "play," and Jean Baudrillard's "simulacra." For example, instead of the modernist quest for meaning in a chaotic world, the postmodern author eschews, often playfully, the possibility of meaning, and the postmodern novel is often a parody of this quest. This distrust of totalizing mechanisms extends even to the author; thus postmodern writers often celebrate chance over craft and employ metafiction to undermine the author's "univocal" control (the control of only one voice). The distinction between high and low culture is also attacked with the employment of pastiche, the combination of multiple cultural elements including subjects and genres not previously deemed fit for literature. A list of postmodern authors often varies; the following are some names of authors often so classified, most of them belonging to the generation born in the interwar period: William Burroughs (1914-1997), Alexander Trocchi (1925-1984), Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), John Barth (b. 1930), Donald Barthelme (1931-1989), E. L. Doctorow (b. 1931), Robert Coover (1932), Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991) Don DeLillo (b. 1936), Thomas Pynchon (b. 1937), Ishmael Reed (1938), Kathy Acker (1947-1997), Paul Auster (b. 1947), Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952).

Postmodernist writers often point to early novels and story collections as inspiration for their experiments with narrative and structure: Don Quixote, 1001 Arabian Nights, The Decameron, and Candide, among many others. In the English language, Laurence Sterne's 1759 novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, with its heavy emphasis on parody and narrative experimentation, is often cited as an early influence on postmodernism. There were many 19th century examples of attacks on Enlightenment concepts, parody, and playfulness in literature including Lord Byron's satire, especially Don Juan; Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus; Alfred Jarry's ribald Ubu parodies and his invention of 'Pataphysics; Lewis Carrol's playful experiments with signification; the work of Isidore Ducasse, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, etc. Playwrights who worked in the late 19th and early 20th century whose thought and work would serve as an influence on the aesthetic of postmodernism include Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, the Italian author Luigi Pirandello, and the German playwright and theorist Bertolt Brecht. In the 1910s, artists associated with Dadaism celebrated chance, parody, playfulness, and attacked the central role of the artist. Tristan Tzara claimed in "How to Make a Dadaist Poem" that to create a Dadaist poem one had only to put random words in a hat and pull them out one by one. Another way Dadaism influenced postmodern literature was in the development of collage, specifically collages using elements from advertisement or illustrations from popular novels (the collages of Max Ernst, for example). Artists associated with Surrealism, which developed from Dadaism, continued experimentations with chance and parody while celebrating the flow of the subconscious. André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, suggested that automatism and the description of dreams should play a greater role in the creation of literature. He used automatism to create his novel Nadja and used photographs to replace description as a parody of the overly-descriptive novelists he often criticized. Surrealist René Magritte's experiments with signification are used as examples by Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Foucault also uses examples from Jorge Luis Borges, an important direct influence on many postmodernist fiction writers. He is occasionally listed as a Postmodernist though he started writing in the 1920s. The influence of his experiments with metafiction and magical realism was not fully realized in the Anglo-American world until the postmodern period.

Both modern and postmodern literature represent a break from 19th century realism, in which a story was told from an objective or omniscient point of view. In character development, both modern and postmodern literature explore subjectivism, turning from external reality to examine inner states of consciousness, in many cases drawing on modernist examples in the stream of consciousness styles of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, or explorative poems like The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. In addition, both modern and postmodern literature explore fragmentariness in narrative- and character-construction. The Waste Land is often cited as a means of distinguishing modern and postmodern literature. The poem is fragmentary and employs pastiche like much postmodern literature, but the speaker in The Waste Land says, "these fragments I have shored against my ruins". Modernist literature sees fragmentation and extreme subjectivity as an existential crisis, or Freudian internal conflict, a problem that must be solved, and the artist is often cited as the one to solve it. Postmodernists, however, often demonstrate that this chaos is insurmountable; the artist is impotent, and the only recourse against "ruin" is to play within the chaos. Playfulness is present in many modernist works (Joyce's Finnegans Wake or Virginia Woolf's Orlando, for example) and they may seem very similar to postmodern works, but with postmodernism playfulness becomes central and the actual achievement of order and meaning becomes unlikely.

As with all stylistic eras, no definite dates exist for the rise and fall of postmodernism's popularity. 1941, the year in which Irish novelist James Joyce and English novelist Virginia Woolf both died, is sometimes used as a rough boundary for postmodernism's start.

The prefix "post," however, does not necessarily imply a new era. Rather, it could also indicate a reaction against modernism in the wake of the Second World War (with its disrespect for human rights, just confirmed in the Geneva Convention, through the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holocaust, the bombing of Dresden, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, and Japanese American internment). It could also imply a reaction to significant post-war events: the beginning of the Cold War, the civil rights movement in the United States, postcolonialism (Postcolonial literature), and the rise of the personal computer (Cyberpunk fiction and Hypertext fiction).

Some further argue that the beginning of postmodern literature could be marked by significant publications or literary events. For example, some mark the beginning of postmodernism with the first performance of Waiting for Godot in 1953, the first publication of Howl in 1956 or of Naked Lunch in 1959. For others the beginning is marked by moments in critical theory: Jacques Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play" lecture in 1966 or as late as Ihab Hassan's usage in The Dismemberment of Orpheus in 1971.

Though postmodernist literature does not refer to everything written in the postmodern period, several post-war developments in literature (such as the Theatre of the Absurd, the Beat Generation, and Magical Realism) have significant similarities. These developments are occasionally collectively labeled "postmodern"; more commonly, some key figures (Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar and Gabriel Garcia Marquez) are cited as significant contributors to the postmodern aesthetic.

Magical Realism is a technique popular among Latin American writers (and can also be considered its own genre) in which supernatural elements are treated as mundane (a famous example being the practical-minded and ultimately dismissive treatment of an apparently angelic figure in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"). Though the technique has its roots in traditional storytelling, it was a center piece of the Latin American "boom", a movement coterminous with postmodernism. Some of the major figures of the "Boom" and practitioners of Magical Realism (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortázar etc.) are often listed as postmodernists. This labeling, however, is not without its problems. In Spanish-speaking Latin America, modernismo and posmodernismo refer to early twentieth-century literary movements that have no direct relationship to modernism and postmodernism in English. Finding it anachronistic, Octavio Paz has argued that postmodernism is an imported grand récit that is incompatible with the cultural production of Latin America.

Along with Beckett and Borges, a commonly cited transitional figure is Vladimir Nabokov; like Beckett and Borges, Nabokov started publishing before the beginning of postmodernity (1926 in Russian, 1941 in English). Though his most famous novel, Lolita (1955), could be considered a modernist or a postmodernist novel, his later work (specifically Pale Fire in 1962 and Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle in 1969) are more clearly postmodern.

Postmodernism in literature is not an organized movement with leaders or central figures; therefore, it is more difficult to say if it has ended or when it will end (compared to, say, declaring the end of modernism with the death of Joyce or Woolf). Arguably postmodernism peaked in the 60s and 70s with the publication of Catch-22 in 1961, Lost in the Funhouse in 1968, Slaughterhouse Five in 1969, Gravity's Rainbow in 1973, and many others. Some declared the death of postmodernism in the 80's with a new surge of realism represented and inspired by Raymond Carver. Tom Wolfe in his 1989 article "Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast" called for a new emphasis on realism in fiction to replace postmodernism. With this new emphasis on realism in mind, some declared White Noise in 1985 or The Satanic Verses in 1988 to be the last great novels of the postmodern era.

All of these themes and techniques are often used together. For example, metafiction and pastiche are often used for irony. These are not used by all postmodernists, nor is this an exclusive list of features.

Linda Hutcheon claimed postmodern fiction as a whole could be characterized by the ironic quote marks, that much of it can be taken as tongue-in-cheek. This irony, along with black humor and the general concept of "play" (related to Derrida's concept or the ideas advocated by Roland Barthes in The Pleasure of the Text) are among the most recognizable aspects of postmodernism. Though the idea of employing these in literature did not start with the postmodernists (the modernists were often playful and ironic), they became central features in many postmodern works. In fact, several novelists later to be labeled postmodern were first collectively labeled black humorists: John Barth, Joseph Heller, William Gaddis, Kurt Vonnegut, Bruce Jay Friedman, etc. It's common for postmodernists to treat serious subjects in a playful and humorous way: for example, the way Heller, Vonnegut, and Pynchon address the events of World War II. A good example of postmodern irony and black humor is found in the stories of Donald Barthelme; "The School", for example, is about the ironic death of plants, animals, and people connected to the children in one class, but the inexplicable repetition of death is treated only as a joke and the narrator remains emotionally distant throughout. The central concept of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is the irony of the now-idiomatic "catch 22", and the narrative is structured around a long series of similar ironies. Thomas Pynchon in particular provides prime examples of playfulness, often including silly wordplay, within a serious context. The Crying of Lot 49, for example, contains characters named Mike Fallopian and Stanley Koteks and a radio station called KCUF, while the novel as a whole has a serious subject and a complex structure.

To combine, or "paste" together, multiple elements. In Postmodernist literature this can be an homage to or a parody of past styles. It can be seen as a representation of the chaotic, pluralistic, or information-drenched aspects of postmodern society. It can be a combination of multiple genres to create a unique narrative or to comment on situations in postmodernity: for example, William S. Burroughs uses science fiction, detective fiction, westerns; Margaret Atwood uses science fiction and fairy tales; Umberto Eco uses detective fiction, fairy tales, and science fiction, and so on. Though pastiche commonly refers to the mixing of genres, many other elements are also included (metafiction and temporal distortion are common in the broader pastiche of the postmodern novel). For example, Thomas Pynchon includes in his novels elements from detective fiction, science fiction, and war fiction; songs; pop culture references; well-known, obscure, and fictional history mixed together; real contemporary and historical figures (Mickey Rourke and Wernher Von Braun for example); a wide variety of well-known, obscure and fictional cultures and concepts. In Robert Coover's 1977 novel The Public Burning, Coover mixes historically inaccurate accounts of Richard Nixon interacting with historical figures and fictional characters such as Uncle Sam and Betty Crocker. Pastiche can also refer to compositional technique, for example the cut-up technique employed by Burroughs. Another example is B. S. Johnson's 1969 novel The Unfortunates; it was released in a box with no binding so that readers could assemble it how ever they chose.

Interdependence of literaty texts based on the theory that a literary text is not an isolated phenomenon but is made up of a mosaic of quotations, and that any text is the "absorption and transformation of another". One literary text depends on some other literary work.An example of this is Tom Stoppard´s play Rosencrantz and Guildestern are Dead.

Metafiction is essentially writing about writing or "foregrounding the apparatus", making the artificiality of art or the fictionality of fiction apparent to the reader and generally disregards the necessity for "willful suspension of disbelief". It is often employed to undermine the authority of the author, for unexpected narrative shifts, to advance a story in a unique way, for emotional distance, or to comment on the act of storytelling. For example, Italo Calvino's 1979 novel If on a winter's night a traveler is about a reader attempting to read a novel of the same name. Kurt Vonnegut also commonly used this technique: the first chapter his 1969 novel Slaughterhouse Five is about the process of writing the novel and calls attention to his own presence throughout the novel. Though much of the novel has to do with Vonnegut's own experiences during the firebombing of Dresden, Vonnegut continually points out the artificiality of the central narrative arc which contains obviously fictional elements such as aliens and time travel. Similarly, Tim O'Brien's 1990 novel/story collection The Things They Carried, about one platoon's experiences during the Vietnam War, features a character named Tim O'Brien; though O'Brien was a Vietnam veteran, the book is a work of fiction and O'Brien calls into question the fictionality of the characters and incidents through out the book. One story in the book, "How to Tell a True War Story", questions the nature of telling stories. Factual retellings of war stories, the narrator says, would be unbelievable and heroic, moral war stories don't capture the truth.

In this genre, the central strand of the action purports to be the work’s own composition, although it is really “about” something else — as Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is about the composition of India after independence. Often the writing is a metaphor for constructing a world. The poioumenon can be traced back through Samuel Beckett´s trilogy, Thomas Carlyle´s Sartor Resartus, and Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. After Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire it became a common form within postmodern literature: Doris Lessing in The Golden Notebook, John Fowles in Mantissa, and William Golding in Paper Men. The poioumenon offers opportunities to explore the boundaries of fiction and reality—the limits of narrative truth.

Linda Hutcheon coined the term "historiographic metafiction" to refer to works that fictionalize actual historical events or figures; notable examples include The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (about Simón Bolívar), Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes (about Gustave Flaubert), and Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (which features such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Booker T. Washington, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung). Thomas Pynchon's Mason and Dixon also employs this concept; for example, a scene featuring George Washington smoking marijuana is included. John Fowles deals similarly with the Victorian Period in The French Lieutenant's Woman. In regards to critical theory, this technique can be related to The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes.

This is a common technique in modernist fiction: fragmentation and non-linear narratives are central features in both modern and postmodern literature. Temporal distortion in postmodern fiction is used in a variety of ways, often for the sake of irony. Historiographic metafiction (see above) is an example of this. Distortions in time are central features in many of Kurt Vonnegut's non-linear novels, the most famous of which is perhaps Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five becoming "unstuck in time". In Flight to Canada, Ishmael Reed deals playfully with anachronisms, Abraham Lincoln using a telephone for example. Time may also overlap, repeat, or bifurcate into multiple possibilities. For example, in Robert Coover's "The Babysitter" from Pricksongs & Descants, the author presents multiple possible events occurring simultaneously -- in one section the babysitter is murdered while in another section nothing happens and so on -- yet no version of the story is favored as the correct version.

Fredric Jameson called postmodernism the "cultural logic of late capitalism". "Late capitalism" implies that society has moved past the industrial age and into the information age. Likewise, Jean Baudrillard claimed postmodernity was defined by a shift into hyperreality in which simulations have replaced the real. In postmodernity people are inundated with information, technology has become a central focus in many lives, and our understanding of the real is mediated by simulations of the real. Many works of fiction have dealt with this aspect of postmodernity with characteristic irony and pastiche. For example, Don DeLillo's White Noise presents characters who are bombarded with a "white noise" of television, product brand names, and clichés. The cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and many others use science fiction techniques to address this postmodern, hyperreal information bombardment.

Perhaps demonstrated most famously and effectively in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and the work of Thomas Pynchon, the sense of paranoia, the belief that there's an ordering system behind the chaos of the world. For the postmodernist, no ordering system exists, so a search for order is fruitless and absurd. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pychon has many possible interpretations. If one reads the book with a particular bias, then he or she is going to be frustrated. This often coincides with the theme of technoculture and hyperreality. For example, in Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, the character Dwayne Hoover becomes violent when he's convinced that everyone else in the world is a robot and he is the only human.

Dubbed maximalism by some critics, the sprawling canvas and fragmented narrative of such writers as Dave Eggers has generated controversy on the "purpose" of a novel as narrative and the standards by which it should be judged. The postmodern position is that the style of a novel must be appropriate to what it depicts and represents, and points back to such examples in previous ages as Gargantua by François Rabelais and the Odyssey of Homer, which Nancy Felson-Rubin hails as the exemplar of the polytropic audience and its engagement with a work.

Many modernist critics, notably B.R. Myers in his polemic A Reader's Manifesto, attack the maximalist novel as being disorganized, sterile and filled with language play for its own sake, empty of emotional commitment—and therefore empty of value as a novel. Yet there are counter-examples, such as Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, James Chapman's Stet, and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest where postmodern narrative coexists with emotional commitment.

Literary minimalism can be characterized as a focus on a surface description where readers are expected to take an active role in the creation of a story. The characters in minimalist stories and novels tend to be unexceptional. Generally, the short stories are "slice of life" stories. Minimalism, the opposite of maximalism, is a representation of only the most basic and necessary pieces, specific by economy with words. Minimalist authors hesitate to use adjectives, adverbs, or meaningless details. Instead of providing every minute detail, the author provides a general context and then allows the reader’s imagination to shape the story. Among those categorized as postmodernist, literary minimalism is most commonly associated with Samuel Beckett.

Fiction which is based on and combined with fact. Notable examples are Truman Capote´s In Cold Blood, Norman´s Mailer´s Armies of the Night and Alex Haley´s Roots. It can apply to historical novels which combine a great deal of period fact with fictional treatment or to novels which incorporate actual living personalities (e.g. the President of the USA, the British Prime Minister etc.) in a narrative about recent events which pertain to historical fact.

A term used to describe the anti-novel. It appears to have been introduced by Robert Scholes in The Fabulators. Fabulation involves allegory, verbal acrobatics and surrealistic effects. This style can be represented by Salman Rushdie´s Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Literary work marked by the use of still, sharply defined, smoothly painted images of figures and objects depicted in a surrealistic manner. The themes and subjects are often imaginary, somewhat outlandish and fantastic and with a certain dream-like quality. Some of the characteristic features of this kind of fiction are the mingling and juxtaposition of the realistic and the fantastic or bizarre, skillful time shifts, convoluted and even labyrinthine narratives and plots, miscellaneous use of dreams, myths and fairy stories, expressionistic and even surrealistic description, arcane erudition, the element of surprise or abrupt shock, the horrific and the inexplicable.It has been applied, for instance, to the work of Luis Borges,the Argentinian who in 1935 published his Historia universal de la infamia, regarded by many as the first work of magic realism. The Colombian novelist Gabriel García Marquez is also regarded as a notable exponent of this kind of fiction – especially his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.The Cuban Alejo Carpentier is another described as a "magic realist“. Postmodernists such as Salman Rushdie, Italo Calvino, and Gunter Grass commonly use Magical Realism in their work.

To the top



AVN (magazine)

Avnmn logo.jpg

Adult Video News (AVN or AVN Magazine) is an American trade journal that covers the adult video industry. The New York Times notes that AVN is to pornographic films what Billboard is to records. AVN sponsors an annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada along with an award show for the adult industry modeled after the Oscars.

AVN rates adult films and track news developments in the industry. An AVN issue can feature over 500 movie reviews. The magazine is about 80 percent ads and is targeted at adult-video retailers. David Foster Wallace has described AVN articles to be more like infomercials than articles.

Paul Fishbein, Irv Slifkin, and Barry Rosenblatt founded AVN in 1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Slifkin left in 1984; having become disinterested in reviewing adult movies due to the industry's transition from film to videos. Rosenblatt and Fishbein had a falling out in 1987. Eventually, Fishbein moved the magazine to the San Fernando Valley where it operates to this day.

AVN was widely quoted for various figures about the adult industry and its revenues. AVN estimated that the sales and rentals of adult videos topped four billion dollars in 2000 and 2002. Forbes has called this figure "baseless and wildly inflated". When Forbes asked AVN on how it arrived at this figure, the managing editor responded, "I don't know the exact methodology... It's a pie chart." When asked to separate the figures for sales versus rentals, a standard practice among those who cover the video industry, the editor did not think those figures were available. Adams Media Research noted that no one tracked the adult video business with any rigor or precision and that the most generous estimate is that sales and rentals combined were no higher than $1.8 billion. AVN estimated that adult industry revenue in 2005 was 12.6 billion dollars with 2.5 billion of that coming from the internet. However, ABC News reported that this figure could not be independently verified.

AVN sponsors an annual convention, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), held each January in Las Vegas. Nevada. The Expo is the largest pornography industry trade show in the United States.

AVN also hosts an award show for the adult industry modeled after the Oscars. The awards feature over 100 categories and has an attendance of over 3500 people. David Foster Wallace skeptically noted that AVN, in 1997, reviewed over 4,000 new release in every category in comparison to the 375 films that the Academy Awards were required to see for the Oscars. This number increased to 8,000 for the 2008 Awards and Paul Fishbein comments that it is "a very long, horrible process". The New York Times describe the "precise criteria for winning an AVN are not, well, explicit".

Sports columnist Bill Simmons commented that the Awards were "the most secretly captivating telecasts on TV" alongside the National Spelling Bee and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Violet Blue, the sex writer, describes the Awards as "big backslapping event where the same companies and same names win year after year... To think of the "porn Oscars" as a true representation of porn's very best is like having sex with a Jenna Jameson love doll and telling your friends you had sex with the porn star". Even Tyla Winn, an award winner, had trouble remembering one of her sex scenes that was nominated.

AVN also sponsors the GAYVN Awards which are presented annually to honor work done in the gay pornography industry. Awards for gay adult video were a part of the AVN awards from 1988–1998. In 1999, AVN decided to separately host the GayVN Awards.

To the top



The Pale King

The Pale King is a posthumous unfinished novel by David Foster Wallace that will be published by 2010 by Little, Brown and Company.

To the top



John Krasinski

John Burke Krasinski (born October 20, 1979) is an American actor, film director, and writer. He has acted in several films, including Shrek the Third, but is most widely known for playing Jim Halpert on NBC's The Office.

Krasinski was born in the Brighton section of Boston, Massachusetts, the son of nurse Mary Clare (née Doyle) and Polish-American father internist Dr. Ronald Krasinski. He has two older brothers, Kevin and Paul, and was raised Catholic in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. He is 6'3 yet he is the shortest of his siblings.

He attended the same high school as B. J. Novak, later his co-star (Ryan Howard) on The Office and also a writer and co-producer of some episodes of the series. Krasinski also performed in a play written by Novak. Krasinski graduated from Newton South High School in 1997.

Before entering college, he took a semester off to teach English in Costa Rica. This endevour influenced Krasinski to pursue the art of acting. From there, he went to Brown University, where he graduated in 2001 as a playwright, writing an honors thesis titled "Contents Under Pressure". During his time at Brown, he helped coach youth basketball at The Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island. He then attended the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut.

Krasinski's first stage experience was starring in a satirical play written and cast by B. J. Novak for Newton South High School. He decided to continue acting after doing a reading of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Besides training at the National Theatre Institute, he also studied at The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and The Actor's Center in New York City. After graduating from Brown University, Krasinski went to New York City to pursue acting, appearing in commercials and guest spots on television shows, as well as doing readings of off-Broadway plays and working as a waiter. He starred in the play What the Eunuch Saw, which was directed and written by a former college classmate.

In 2000, Krasinski was a script intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. In addition to his role on The Office, Krasinski's television credits include appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Without A Trace, Ed, American Dad! (as the voice of a squirrel), and an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

His feature film credits include Kinsey, Jarhead, Duane Hopwood, Shrek the Third and The Holiday. He also had cameos in For Your Consideration and Dreamgirls. He wrote and directed a film, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009), an adaptation of David Foster Wallace's work of the same name; it will make its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

He starred as Gideon in A New Wave, which was filmed before he was on The Office and released in 2007. He also starred as Brevin in Smiley Face, which was filmed in 2006. More recently, he had major supporting roles in the films License to Wed, with Mandy Moore and Robin Williams, and Leatherheads with George Clooney and Renee Zellweger. From April to June 2008, he filmed, with Jarhead director Sam Mendes, Away We Go co-starring Maya Rudolph and Cheryl Hines. He is set to join Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in a yet-to-be-titled comedy to be directed by Nancy Meyers in the spring 2009 for Universal Pictures.

Krasinski was featured in People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive issues in 2006 and 2008.

Beginning in March 2006, Krasinski narrated a series of commercials for Ask.com, and followed this with a commercial for the Apple TV in April 2007, and the BlackBerry Storm in 2008. Krasinski has appeared in print advertisements for the Gap.

Krasinski filmed the footage of Scranton, Pennsylvania for The Office, including the clips shown in the opening credits.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia