art, literature, philosophy

The Second Section of Purity as Franzen’s “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way”

That title is quite the mouthful. Here's what it means. A year and a half ago I wrote a post explaining how David Foster Wallace's short story/novella "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way" was a parody of Barth's "Lost in the Funhouse" in order to describe his philosophy of literature. What I want… Continue reading The Second Section of Purity as Franzen’s “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way”

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westward the course of empire takes its way
art, language, literature, writing

Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way

This is mostly meant to be a direct continuation of the last post, but there is so much to say about the importance of this short story for understanding Infinite Jest that I needed a full post to do it. I will try to stick to this thesis, but I get so excited about unraveling… Continue reading Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way

literature

Minor Preparation to Get the Most out of Infinite Jest

I've been reading the biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max, and it reminded me that for years I've been meaning to do a blog post on some of the preparation you can do to have a much better experience reading Infinite Jest. First, I'm not doing… Continue reading Minor Preparation to Get the Most out of Infinite Jest

art, literature, philosophy

Some Thoughts on Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence

I recently learned that some Barnes and Noble has an "essay" section. This will be my downfall. I was glancing through it and stumbled upon something that sounded fascinating. If you've been reading this blog for any significant amount of time, then you'll know that influence is a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me.… Continue reading Some Thoughts on Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence

art, literature

Literature, Originality, Influence, and the Anxiety Thereof

I really do plan to get back to some math soon. I thought I'd share an argument that I first learned from the essay "The Literature of Exhaustion" by John Barth. It is something that used to come up all the time when I was an undergrad music major. It usually comes up now in… Continue reading Literature, Originality, Influence, and the Anxiety Thereof