12.04.2006

I'm in!

Dave Eggers is getting some heat for changing his mind about Infinite Jest.


A challenge has been issued and money's on the table. Bat Segundo offered up the all important platform.

Well, hell, I'm in for this one.

I'll kick in $49 to challenge Dave Eggers to speak about why he changed his mind.

I actually think if you DON'T change your mind about at least one book or work of art every year you aren't learning anything new or thinking very hard.

C'mon Dave! It's for a good cause!

11 comments:

ORION said...

I find this whole brouhaha very interesting. Much ado about nothing.
We change our minds constantly. We are human. A book that appeared complex 10 years ago can be revealed as more understandable when a reader gains the life experiences necessary to more fully comprehend an author's intent.
There are books I could not finish 10 -20 years ago which I love now. (Kafka comes to mind).
That all being said I think Eggers could have made a much more interesting point by addressing this fact in his review. How his opinion of the book had changed and why that might be so.
It would have made a much more interesting piece.
JMHO

word verification "aerkf"
The sound someone makes when they prevaricate

Anonymous said...

I feel people are making a big deal out of nothing. I believe the purpose of Dave Eggers' original review was to point out both good and bad of the novel he was reviewing, as any decent reviewer is supposed to.

But if such petty things bring to light both authors' fine accomplishments and cause more people to read them, then so be it.

For the record, I did read all 1,000+ pages of "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, and loved every minute of it. I was also delighted by "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genuis," by Dave Eggers.

We should all be so lucky to be able to craft such work.

The Gambino Crime Family said...

Of course, a book that appeared complex 10 years ago can be revealed as more understandable when someone writes you a check (one for a little bit more than $147.)

Alphabet said...

I think what caused the brouhaha is the cheapness of Egger's criticism. While his original review at least addresses Infinite Jest as a novel, and considers the specificities of its prose, the new introduction is terrible - hectoring, and full of vacuous praise that could apply to any book.

In my opinion (and if not in a blog comment, where?) is that Eggers is hilariously over-rated, and a genuinely bad writer, while Wallace has talent but not a pinch of the gifts the Sage of Glen Cove has recently deployed at full tilt....

Anonymous said...

There are homework novels, and then there are novels that people like to read. The JEST is definitely a homework novel. It's one of those books that can be read as an allegory for all the literary theories that professors find so fascinating. (Gore Vidal: "If you want to meet someone who really hates literature, then just talk to an academic.") The best analysis of INFINITE JEST can be found in Dale Peck's HATCHET JOBS.

As for Eggers, There is a difference between liking something, and talking yourself into liking it in order to appear fashionable. It seems to me that Eggers did the latter. But don't laugh at him. There are obviously some strange funguses in the literary profession. Critics seem especially afflicted. I'll never quite forget the Everyman introduction to Beckett's MOLLOY, which claimed that it was as riveting as a thriller. Uh huh. And the JEST is "drum-tight and relentlessly smart." Whatever.

JoshM said...

My question is, Who cares?

Existential Man said...

second the motion: Who cares?

this falls into the department of publishing-insiders-who-care-about-minutia...
come on you cute Snarkiss Tuna, give us something we can sink our teeth into!

Anonymous said...

Alphabet, please tell me: who is the "Sage of Glen Cove"???

sisterclamp said...

Okay, here I go getting all heavy. I honestly believe this is a disturbing societal indicator where, like with every other subject of note, the only thing that's important is what happens in the PRESENT.

This is a flawed view of society and history. Of course the past matters (in literature, in politics, in society) and should be addressed if you're in any way serious. But, look around. All that matters is what happens this very moment, all else is dross. And thus we are all condemned.

Orion makes a very good point. It would have been NOTHING for Eggers to say "When I read this novel x years ago, I thought it [whatever]. Now, years later, with [insert significant event/s here] I can better appreciate what is being said in INFINITE JEST...[blah blah]."

The fact that Eggers does not do this tells me he is a moral coward and not any better than the spin-doctors we keep mauling for their blinkered vision.

This episode can also be seen as one of many precursors to the downfall of western civilization as we know it...but that could just be my opinion. ;)

S_C

Anonymous said...

I'm going with the who cares? Any closer and we'll be seeing the colour of their navel gazing lint.

Anonymous said...

"Sage of Glen Cove"? My guess: one Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.