January 22, 2010 - UncategorizedThe Dull King “David Foster Wallace is very good at becoming the whole of boredom.” –Page 33, How Fiction Works, James Woods Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)MoreClick to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading...
32 thoughts on “The Dull King”
An assertion that made Wood’s self-serving eulogy of DFW after the latter’s death especially nauseating.
“There was no reason for him to write his eulogy on DFW except to draw attention to himself – and HFW.”
That’s a pretty nasty claim. James Wood has some contentious opinions, sure, but you’re saying that he’s basically mean and soulless. That’s a little silly, don’t you think? He may not have thought through his comment, but I highly doubt his motivation was anything other than sincere sorrow for the loss.
I think Edmond did a good job examining Woods’s dubious motivations for writing the “eulogy” here: http://contrajameswood.blogspot.com/2008/11/crocodile-tears.html
And murky motivations isn’t new for Woods.
From the Man Booker Prize site:
“This was the year too when judge James Wood recommended a novel by Clare Messud to his fellow judges, conveniently forgetting to mention that she was his wife.”
This was in 1994.
The issue of his decorum in commenting in an open forum dedicated to mourning DFW notwithstanding, I’m just reading Wood’s book for the first time, and I not ready to dismiss his criticisms of Wallace’s work. He obviously doesn’t “get” Wallace as one does as a fan, but he also doesn’t entirely misread him. I’ll post more once I’ve read more.
Two writers, Wallace, Bolano, have had untimely (well one), early deaths resulting in their being branded ‘geniuses.’ The bandwagon is loud and proud these days.
Why isn’t Saramago branded a genius as much as Bolano?
I guess we have to ask Harold Bloom.
To be be fair, DFW was labeled a genius well before his death.
Indeed. Before he even was one, really.
Wallace was awarded a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation on June 16, 1997.
Making it official! Man, it would be nice to be the official gatekeeper for genius.
So we have a bunch of geniuses in our world, in America.
To misquote Woody to Diane Keaton in Manhattan, “This friend or yours is genius and that friend is a genius, maybe you should meet some stupid people, you might learn something.”
My intention was to contradict Greg’s claim that Wallace was declared a genius before his death.
I know. I didn’t agree with Greg’s claim either. Greg, you’re fired!
To quote Chauncy Gardner, “I have no claim.”
But you DO have ac-claim. At least, you have mine. Which is critical.
Being There is a great book.
No, it’s a great film.
Can’t be both.
Yes John yes. What I’m getting at is how the media embraces certain writers and ignores others. Wallace was embraced before death but Infinite Jest is only 14 years old. Let’s hold off a little before the grand pronouncements about it’s historical weight.
Ok, it’s on Time Magazine’s list. I’ll concede but only with Harold Bloom corroboration.
Saramago won the Nobel Prize in Literature 1998.
Yeah, but anyone can win the Nobel these days.
Unless you’re an American, which doesn’t bother me.
BTW, Wallace himself openly told people that Saunders was a much better writer than himself.
If anyone wants to read Infinite Jest with me, let’s do it.
I’ve been wanting to read it again, but I’m not sure now is the time. It either takes forever, or takes over.
Would you consider this a MUST-read book? Because if I must, I will.
Without a doubt. It’s a milestone.
Oh, and also, I really don’t know what kind of reasonable comparison can be made between George Saunders and DFW. Their projects and styles are so different, it doesn’t seem advantageous.
I guess i should probably do this, eventually, but all of this constant praising in the indie-lit “blog-o-sphere” has me keeping my copy on my shelf
Me. I’m in. I’ve got a copy and would like to give it a crack.
Oh, I guess I did already say that.