David Foster Wallace

If I had to bookend the 20th Century from a literary point of view I'd be inclined to put Ulysses on one end and Infinite Jest at the other. The former opened up the way for writerly experimentation and media integration, and the latter seems to close these off. At least in the sense that DFW is attempting to resuscitate the shuddering PostModernist hulk of contemporary writing that Ulysses triggered in the first place. Which is not to say there's some weird narrative closure between the two like a horse and cart across history, or that each are typical products of their respective age — which are both somewhat true — or even that complementary readings can be made. I mean DFW is reanimating the vibrancy of prose with intelligence and verve, making the novel seem a worthy investment again, a medium that rewards patient effort and involvement. And doing so in a way that is strikingly contemporary and ironic and critical without all the wet-newspaperisms of PoMo flogging and sass-less reference. Here come the cliches: refreshing, young, invigorating, smart, impish, delightful, satirical, dry & sophisticated, witty, urbane and media-savvy cool. All true in their own blazon but commentless in the face of his acute powers of novelisation, of interpreting the novel for hyper- or post-mediated times...

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