Episode 14: Discussing David Foster Wallace with Josh Roiland and his class at the University of Maine

25May

00:0000:00

In this special episode we talk with Professor Josh Roiland and his class at the University of Maine. Roiland is Assistant Professor + CLAS-Honors Preceptor of Journalism in the Department of Communication and Journalism + Honors College. Roiland’s class this semester was called “Consider David Foster Wallace” and they read a TON of DFW work. As part of their class project, the students also created a really useful website about IJ called Consider Infinite Jest https://considerinfinitejest.wordpress.com/

Josh has written a lot about Wallace and here are a few of his pieces we mention in this episode:

·        "Getting Away from It All: The Literary Journalism of David Foster Wallace and Nietzsche's Concept of 'Oblivion'"Literary Journalism Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 2009, 89-105. (Revised and reprinted in The Legacy of David Foster Wallace, University of Iowa Press).

·        "The Fine Print: Uncovering the True Story of David Foster Wallace and the 'Reality Boundary'" Literary Journalism Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall 2013, 148-161. (Reprinted by Longreads; 10 Most Popular Exclusives of 2014).

·        "Spiritually Midwestern: What Middle America Meant to David Foster Wallace" published (w/essential footnotes maddeningly located on the side of the text) by A24 Film Studios "Just Words" site in conjunction w/the release of The End of The Tour. 

You can follow Josh Roiland on Twitter @JoshRoiland or check out his website: www.joshroiland.com 

SPECIAL THANKS are due to Justin Harlan-Haughey for his audio expertise.Thanks also to Robyn O’Neil, Parquet Courts, Josh Roiland, Derrek Schrader, Alex Abrahams, Emily McNair, Atticus Dennis, and Taylor Cunningham.

SHOW NOTES

03:00 – Josh’s writing on Wallace

04:38 – Josh’s email intro to the class

06:34 – Class syllabus and reading list

08:38 – Reconciling Wallace’s death with his writing

10:21 – Starting the class with a discussion onsuicide

13:52 – Is Wallace’s writing autobiographical?

16:55 – The class on Twitter

18:20 – The Wallace community on Twitter

19:51 – When the class read Infinite Jest

21:35 – Meeting in different spaces

22:45 – The ending of Infinite Jest

24:35 – Is the graveyard scene real? What’s going onthere?

27:49 – Waiting for plotlines to converge

30:30 – Reading IJ in public

31:07 – The cliché of dudes/bros reading Infinite Jest

37:38 – The marginalization of journalism in Englishdepartments

39:06 – DFW’s exaggerations in non-fiction

40:25 – Your favorite Wallace piece?

48:24 – Your least favorite Wallace piece?

53:33 – How to teach Infinite Jest

55:25 – Class-created website about IJ

1:01:32 – What to read after Wallace?

1:05:15 – Your favorite Wallace character?

1:09:52 – Any huge takeaways from this experience?

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