Saturday, October 15, 2011

Summer of Infinite Jest 12.1 -- page 740

(The oeuvre of James Incandenza) was amateurish, she'd seen, when Orin had had his brother... lend them some of The Mad Stork's Read-Only copies. Was amateurish the right word? More like the work of a brillian optician and technician who was an amateur at any kind of real communication. Technically gorgeous, the Work, with lighting and angles planned out to the frame. But oddly hollow empty, no sense of dramatic towardness -- no narrative movement toward a real story; no emotional movement toward an audience.

Ha! I get it.

Of course DFW's work does not really meet that description at all. That's more a description of, say, Alain Robbe-Grillet. But this passage is the author saying "Yeah, I know all about your anxiety about narrative, and I can play with it, and I'll continue to do so." And also saying that he has this anxiety about his own work, that he's afraid his technical brilliance will keep people from enjoying it. And also that he knows something about alienation, the gulf between his mentally ill self and others, and anxiety about whether his novels can bridge that gulf where nothing else can.

Later on that page the expression narratively anticonfluential is coined with reference to Incandenza's work. Anticonfluential! I bow in admiration.

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