Sunday, December 28, 2008

Also interesting DFW things

A DFW piece in the Atlantic.

And the Subject's snarky response published after DFW died.


"The entrance says EXIT. There isn't an exit."

Tim's post on Maya Deren and meshes made me revisit this line from the telling of JvD's last party night. I remember talking about this during book club, but this line made me think of the ending of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. As noted in the wikipedia for AP:

"The incipit of the book has Bateman staring at a graffiti on a Chemical Bank building, reading Abandon all hope ye who enter here; this phrase appears over the gates of hell in the Divine Comedy. The book ends with a scene similar to its beginning, as Bateman sits in a bar, staring at a sign that reads "THIS IS NOT AN EXIT" ; a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit. The opening and closing phrases summarize Bateman's life as a living hell he cannot escape."

Is DFW referencing Sartre or Ellis? or Both? or Neither? It seems as likely any of the three.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Partial Geography

Please comment if you have additional I.J.-Boston locations.

1. Antitoi Entertainment, Inman Sq. (p.480, not real)
2. Ryle's Jazz Club (p.479)
3. "Cambridge Theatre Company that seemed to do only German plays" [a.k.a. the A.R.T.] (p.18-19)
4. Live Poultry Fresh Killed (p.479)
5. Blanchard's Liquors in Allston (p.546)
6. Marlborough st. art gallery (p.23)
7. Brighton Projects (p.38, 130, 131) [Charlesview apartments at Harvard+Western Ave in Brighton?]
8. Winchester High School (p.39, [Mildred Bonk + Bruce Green's h.s.])
9. Mount Auburn Club (West Watertown, p.34) [wow... it really exists]
10. Newton-Wellesley Hospital (p.69 [Gompert gets electrochock therapy there, also, incidentally, I was born there])
11. Steve's Donuts in Enfield Square (p.129 [I thought it was Steve's Bakery in Somerville but then they go on to say hang out in Enfield Enfield or Allston, p.131])
12. Bow+Arrow Pub, Harvard Sq (p.129) [c.f. "do you like apples"]
13. CVS in Central Square (p.129)
14. Cheap-O records (central square) (p.129)
15. Hung Toys, Chinatown (fictional, but definitely sex shops in C-town, p.132)
16. "hot air blowergrate we use at nite at the library behind the Copley Squar...behind the brickworks behind the bush by the hot blowergrate" (p.133)
17. Dwayne R. Glynn, 176N Faneuil Blvd, Stoneham, MA (no Faneuil blvd in Stoneham, p.139)
18. Enfield: best geography given p.240-242, "arm-shape extending north from Comm Ave and separating Brighton into Upper and Lower, elbow nudging East Newton's ribs and its fist sunk into Allston" [then a long list of businesses that I'm not going to google right now] "...ETA hilltop overlooking on one side, east, historic Comm Ave's acclivated migration out of the squalor of Lower Brighton --...the huge and brooding Brighton Project high-rises with three-story-high orange ID-numerals on the sides [c.f. #7]...quarter-hourly trundle and ding of the Green Line train's labor up the Ave.'s long rise to Boston College...from both the north and northeast tree-lines ETA looks down its hill's steepest, best-planted decline into the complexly decaying grounds of Enfield Marine."
19. The Globe's map of Joelle's foot journey is good, but for the record: "wet walk here from Red Line's Downtown stop, walking the whole way from East Charles St...approaches boston common...a store 24...common's south edge is Boylston St...boylston st east means she pases statue of boston's colonel shaw and th eMA 54th...raised sword illicitly draped in a large Quebecois fleur-de-lis flag [by the Antitoi, ~487]...f.a.o. schwartz [where the weird tape dispenser statue is located]...along Upper Brighton and the cooperative Back Bay-edge brownstone" (p. 224-227)
20. "Bogart's in Porter Sq." (non-existent, p.20)
21. MIT student union (p.186-187)

My dad has two pretty good suggestions: first, he pointed out that the Longwood Cricket Club (google: "The Longwood Cricket Club may not be the oldest tennis club in the nation, but it continues to lure the best professional competition in the state...") is right in the area that we identified as potential ETA territory.

Second, he made the assertion that "___ Spur" always referred to a neighborhood around a spur in the railroad, not the highway, though made no suggestions about potential railroad spurs in Allston. He did say that the area east of Harvard Ave on Comm Ave used to be a pretty bad neighborhood (though I think that's more Brighton...). You can see the railroad tracks on google maps, if that helps. When Erdedy's buying pot on p.18, he buys it from a woman who "said she knew a guy just over the river in Allston who sold high-resin dope in moderate bulk," and that guy is most definitely the dude with the hairlip.

Film references

On p. 185, Mdme. Psychosis is said to give thumbs "-down on Deren/Hammid" and then on p.222, on J.v.D.'s walk home, her internal monologue goes: "What looks like the cage's exit is actually the bars of the cage. The afternoon's meshes. The entrance says EXIT. There isn't an exit. The ultimate annular fusion: that of exhibit and its cage." (emphasis mine). Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's Meshes of the Afternoon, in two parts, included below:

Outlines, 489-538

spoiler alert.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I think somebody's created the Entertainment in the form of a blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Cages

"According to some accounts, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, 'Henry, what are you doing in there?' Thoreau replied, 'Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?'”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DFW doesn't know his anatomy?

In reading the section w/ the AFR's impaling of Lucien w/ his beloved broom it bothered me that DFW might have describe an anatomic impossibility.

"... and as the culcate handle navigates the inguinal canal and sigmoid with a queer deep full hot tickle and with a grunt and shove completes its passage and forms an obscene erectile bulge in the back of his red sopped jons..."

So in my mind's eye the broom navigates, from top to bottom, Lucien's mouth, esophagus, stomach (maybe) and at some point punctures his stomach traveling through his abdominal cavity and probably puncturing all sorts of things (intestines, colons, etc) and then finally sort of penetrating out of his back side/anus region. The sigmoid, assuming he means the sigmoid colon (the only anatomical sigmoid I've learned so far) part makes sense, it's the last part of the colon before it becomes the rectum and then anus and it's located in the posterior region of the abdominal cavity, but the inguinal canal is in the anterior region of the abdomen, it's the canal that the arteries, veins and vas deferens (as well as the cremaster muscle) travel through to reach the scrotum/testes. There's really now way that a straight line could be drawn between the terminus of the esophagus, the inguinal canal and the sigmoid colon.

Cool, but unhelpful anatomical textbook images Below.

Oh well, maybe I'll actually learn all the drugs he talks about at some point too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tennis - Federer

Since we've talked about it a little bit. Here's a link to DFW's Federer article.

and a Roger Federer Youtube.

Not IJ-related, but tennis related and one of my favorite Hitchcock moments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New work from DFW??

"Before his death, Wallace agreed to donate a portion of a larger work ("An Untitled Chunk") along with first publishing rights, to the students of Chaffey College, allowing us to print it in the first edition of our literary magazine. The magazine is being published this January and is the only available printing of this piece. Our contract with Wallace's family and agent dictates that we cannot publish any portion of the piece online, nor in any other publication, so this is truly a unique opportunity."