Shambles: Summer of Infinite Jestation


Samizdat and stuff
July 28, 2010, 11:48 am
Filed under: Infinite Jest | Tags: , , , ,

Wow, we are like totally TOTALLY more than half-way done with the book!

Even if you’re not reading ahead, we’re over 50% done, and especially w/r/t to this book, that is something; I, for one, can barely believe that I’ve committed to  reading something for such a long time.

Of course, the Infinite Summery for this week – it’s up through page 516.

Okay, so. As of page 451, DFW lets us know that – as I suspected, “it’s not entirely impossible that [Tavis] may have fathered” one sleeping, bradypnea-afflicted Mario Incandenza.

Ohboy. It’s nice that this sort of fits into my framework for the Hamlet resemblances, however, I’m not sure how much else there could possibly be. There doesn’t seem to be room for an Ophelia, aside from Madame Psychosis/PGOAT/Joelle in a really roundabout sort of way; most of the resemblances I’m seeing tend to be thematic.  As far as the actual juicy tidbits of what on earth might have transpired emotionally/sexually between the Moms and C.T. (“Villain, I have done thy mother!” from Titus Andronicus), I don’t know if that’ll get delved into later on in this novel, but I surrrrreee hope it does.

Things are, as before, slowly sort of gelling together, but only sort of: so the infamous squeaking AFR have done away with Lucien/Bertraund Antitoi in their search for the Master copy of the infamous but illusory Entertainment, which was purportedly being held by DuPlessis who died because he had some intense nasal-passage-blocking cold and asphyxiated due to a combination of cold symptoms and nasty dishrag stuffed into his mouth by narcotics-abusing thief-turned armed robber Don Gately.

All this while Steeply of Troy and Marathe converse on some weird cliff-hangerish shelf in Arizona in the early May 1st light of YDAU about the progress their respective nations have made w/r/t studying/studies of the Entertainment, which seems to be able to cause your terminal-p endless stimulation upon one viewing, slash and burn no return style.

As far as the Master/copyable version of the Entertainment goes, I wonder if Lucien + pea-soup ingesting broski did have it, but had neither the proper 585-rpm-drive TP nor the knowledge that cartridges on 485s that play static-y and blank might actually be 585 Masters… whoosh, the sound of suspense.

I guess the only other way, so far, that this really ties in at all with the Hamster is this concept of a play (I mean, yes, “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Act II, Scene II, 605-606)), as on page 490, when “with a really sophisticated piece of holography you’d get the neural density of an actual stage play without losing the selective realism of the viewer screen. That density plus the realism might be too much to take”. But the ties aren’t really all that clear – I don’t know who’s guilty, or who’s conscience will really be revealed/caught by the entertainment (perhaps that of Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner?), or if that’s even applicable, though it’s certainly interesting to think about.

I guess all we can do is wait to see whether or not the kiddos get in trubble for the hilarious Eschaton disaster.

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3 Comments so far
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So, I’m really behind on this next section, but I thought I'd offer my take on the book thus far.

I feel like the book is still too fragmented for my taste. That being said, I've enjoy most of the individuals storylines and they've come together a little bit, but I'm impatient! I feel like book is more cohesive thematically, however. I love how DFW infused the map-concavity/cage/failure of success to bring happiness themes into nearly every major storyline. Namely, the failure of success to bring happiness seems to be at least part of the reason Himself commits suicide and Clipperton "eradicates his map" (433). The concavity (as I understand it anyway) seems to be the eradication of part of the US map possibly due to complacency resulting from success (i.e. the achievement of international goals. I'm making an assumption that this has occurred or appears to have occurred because the only problem mentioned in relation to the US policy is waste).

I don't really know Hamlet well enough to comment on the parallels between the two, but I really loved the allusion to Helen of Troy!

Also, this is awesome. I have feeling [leeivy] will find it particularly awesome.

Comment by alfkarapety

ahahaha, omg, this is fantastic. one of my friends worked at the harry ransom center and i was SO JEALOUS (seriously, it’s a history/booknerd’s dream. tons and tons of authors’ notes, unpublished drafts, possibly a shakespeare folio, etc.). i really like all the little dfw tidbits we’ve got links of (i.e. this, the syllabus)…

so that’s where hal’s memorization/perfect recall of dictionary passages comes from. i’m not even remotely surprised.

Comment by Ivy

[…] with the idea of success not bringing happiness as alf mentioned in her last comment – bringing instead destruction – (though admittedly, as in the case of Clipperton, this […]

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