Tag Archives: Infinite Jest Cover

HITTING SHELVES #28 ½: Infinite Jest 20th Anniversary Edition

Infinite-Jest-New-Cover-GalleyCat

The 20th Anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is now for sale. The updated cover is the result of a reader contest, and has been the subject of some controversy.

Unfortunately, David Foster Wallace is not around to celebrate the release, or tell us what he will be doing today. But if your plans today include embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding reading experiences available to human beings, we’re happy to recommend reading along using “Words Words Words: The Infinite Jest Liveblog.”

We wish you way more than luck.

Michael Moats

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Infinite Jest 20th Anniversary Cover Revealed

Last year, the publishers of Infinite Jest asked readers to give it a new look for the book’s 20th anniversary in 2016. Here is the winning design, chosen by a panel that included Karen Green, Wallace’s widow, and Michael Pietsch, the original editor of IJ and current CEO of Hachette Book Group:  Continue reading

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Crowd Cover

Infinite Jest turns 20 in 2016, and to mark the anniversary, the book’s publisher Little, Brown is asking readers to give the book a facelift by submitting a new cover design.

IJ Cover

Submissions will be accepted starting tomorrow and running through September 15, with the winner to be chosen by the Wallace Literary Trust (meaning they probably won’t choose your design featuring  Jason Segel as Wallace). The winner will get a $1,000 American Express gift card and “the opportunity for your original cover to be used as the front cover of the 20th Anniversary edition” of the book.

Wallace himself was ambivalent about the book’s cover, according to his interviews with David Lipsky in Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:

[Closes it, looks at cover. Clouds and sky.]

This was my major complaint about the cover of the book. …Is that it looks — on American Airlines flights? The cloud system, it’s almost identical.

[On safety booklet for 757]

Oh, that’s funny. What did you want instead?

Oh, I had a number of — there’s a great photo of Fritz Lang directing Metropolis. Do you know this one? Where he’s standing there, and there are about a thousand shaven-headed men in kind of rows and phalanxes, and he’s standing there with a megaphone? It wouldn’t have been…Michael [Pietsch, Wallace’s editor at Little Brown] said it was too busy and too like conceptual, it required too much brain work on the part of the audience….

Because you were making a metaphor on the cover?

No, I just thought it was cool —

There has been some truly great artwork created to honor Infinite Jest over the years, and it should be really cool to see what people come up with for this contest.

And if you’re interested in what’s inside the cover, check out our Infinite Jest Liveblog.

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Why I Will Be Watching the David Foster Wallace Movie

92Y Ticket

This Friday, nerds and friends of nerds in the vicinity of “select theaters” will finally have to decide whether or not they are willing to go see The End of the Tour, the movie covering the days David Foster Wallace spent with Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky at the close of the promotional tour for Infinite Jest. The movie has been controversial, from the casting of comedic actor Jason Segel as Wallace to the disavowal of the project from the Wallace estate. Good people (again, mostly nerds) are wrestling with the question of whether they should go see it.

Until last night, I myself was one of those people/nerds.  Continue reading

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The Infinite Jest Liveblog: Blue

This is the latest entry in Words, Words, Words the ongoing liveblog of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” 

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November 29, 2011, pgs 508-530/1034-1036.  The importance of “The following things in the room were blue” eludes me, except as some indication that Hal is beginning to see things with slightly heightened senses. He is focusing strictly on a single color, and he is also troubled by “a kind of rodential squeaking that gave Hal Incandenza the howling fantods,” an affliction he shares with his grandfather from a few chapters back. The walls outside C.T.’s office are covered in “the overenhanced blue of the wallpaper’s sky, which the wallpaper scheme was fluffy cumuli arrayed patternlessly against an overenhancedly blue sky.”  This is the same wallpaper in the dentist’s office that Hal has just returned from and is, of course, similar if not identical to the (most popular) cover of the book itself. Thus it seems somehow relevant.

Except that Wallace did not choose the cover of the book, and with all the other tightly planned and intricately placed revelations in this book, this one could bear less weight than it seems and be potentially misleading. Wallace’s original choice for the cover was an image from the set of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. He told the story in “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself,” while on an airplane leafing through the safety guide:

[Closes it, looks at cover. Clouds and sky.]

This was my major complaint about the cover of the book. …Is that it looks — on American Airlines flights? The cloud system, it’s almost identical.

[On safety booklet for 757]

Oh, that’s funny. What did you want instead?

Oh, I had a number of — there’s a great photo of Fritz Lang directing Metropolis. Do you know this one? Where he’s standing there, and there are about a thousand shaven-headed men in kind of rows and phalanxes, and he’s standing there with a megaphone? It wouldn’t have been…Michael [Pietsch, Wallace’s editor at Little Brown] said it was too busy and too like conceptual, it required too much brain work on the part of the audience….

Because you were making a metaphor on the cover?

No, I just thought it was cool —

So an apparently deliberate and significant reference to the cover of the novel may not mean much at all, it turns out.

While I’m not sure about the blue, I know the following things in this section are true:

Avril’s hair has been vividly white “as of the last few months before Himself’s felo de se.” She has a way of establishing herself at the “exact center” of any room she’s in. The whole apple thing with her and Hal seems a little, or a lot, like some weird Garden of Eden thing where Avril is the Eve and the Serpent and the Tree all at the same time.

Mike Pemulis is the Paranoid King (see: “YES I’M PARANOID — BUT AM I PARANOID ENOUGH?) and his greatest fear is “of academic or disciplinary expulsion and ejection, of having to schlepp back down Comm. Ave. into blue-collar Allston diploma- and ticket-outless, and now in his final E.T.A. year the dread’s increased many-fold.”

Lateral Alice Moore was in a helicopter crash.

C.T. is one of the most intensely annoying characters ever created, but can also be formidable.

Clenette, current Ennet House resident and controversial narrator from the opening chapters of the book has been in C.T.’s office while the students have been waiting outside — and it is unclear why. Also in the office is the “scrubbed young button-nosed urologist” who is presumably there to chart the inner chemical states of Hal et al.

Marathe and Steeply are discussing mythological/cultural precedents for The Entertainment while the dawn begins to approach.

Read the full Infinite Jest Liveblog

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