Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

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Join our Himalayas of Literature online course series in discussing David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

  1. Explore the four distinct plot threads in Wallace’s work (Tennis Academy hijinks, International Terrorist Plot, Life at a Drug Rehabilitation Center, and the mysterious and deadly independent film at the heart of it all).
  2. Discuss a collective of post-modern themes (addiction and recovery, security and freedom, free will and responsibility, the nature and role of art in society, and the ecstasy and agony of familial relationships).
  3. Discover literary allusions from Homer’s “Odyssey” to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to Joyce’s “Ulysses”.
  4. Map Wallace’s craft as found in the novel’s unique, genre-bending structure. Among the postmodern literary explorations awaiting us, the following:
    • Intertextuality in a metafictional narrative
    • pastiche of maximalismirony, and paranoia
    • A world of fragmented hyperreality set in an age of digital ascension and corporate subsidization
    • Perhaps the most extensive and important use of endnotes ever attempted in literary fiction

This encyclopedic riff on what we might ironically call our ‘popular culture and the entertainment based, consumer driven society’ serves up its treasures with Wallace’s unique humor intertwined with a mastery of the use of language, in defiance of Shakespeare’s adage that ‘brevity is the soul of wit.’

Participants will receive a reading guide, access to four online discussions or their subsequent recordings, and the online community of readers.