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Consider the lobster and other essays (edition 2005)

by David Foster Wallace

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2,603452,299 (4.18)67
Member:MaskedMumbler
Title:Consider the lobster and other essays
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:New York : Little, Brown, 2005.
Collections:Have Read, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:non-fiction, essays, humor, journalism, read in 2013

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Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

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English (43)  German (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
*Big Red Son
*Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think
*Some Remarks on Kafka's Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed
*Authority and American Usage
*The View from Mrs. Thompson's
*How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart
*Up, Simba
*Consider the Lobster
*Joseph Frank's Dostoevsky
*Host
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  bmac33 | Jun 7, 2014 |
I don't often use the word 'scintillating', mostly because I fear I'll misspell it. But this book is the very definition, even though it is little more than a collection of journalistic essays written by the late, great, DFW.

There's a sense of finality about each of the articles that makes them seem so much more than they are. Take the last one as an example, about a talk radio host; DFW invests his story with such pathos and spirit, not to mention deep-lying context, that I can't very well imagine a better one ever getting written. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | May 20, 2014 |
Long renowned as one of the smartest writers on the loose, David Foster Wallace reveals himself in Consider the Lobster to be also one of the funniest. In these pages he ranges far and farther in his search for the original, the curious, or the merely mystifying. His quest takes him into the three-ring circus of a presidential race to ask, among other urgent questions, why it is that the circles journalists walk in while whispering into their cell phones are always counterclockwise. He discovers the World's Largest Lobster Cooker at the Maine Lobster Festival and confronts the inevitable question just beyond the butter-or-cocktail-sauce quandary. He plunges into the wars among dictionary writers, deconstructing once and for all the battles between descriptivists and prescriptivists. And he talks his way into an LA radio studio, bearing buckets of fried chicken, to get an uncensored view of a conservative talk show and its alarmingly attired host." Intelligent, witty and almost always frustratingly right, Wallace is a wonderful essayist. Having not read his fiction I do not know how it would translate into that genre. His vocabulary is worth the price of admission and outwitted several dictionaries. The essays vary in length but are enjoyable no matter that or the theme, which range widely. While his knowledge of his own intellect and cleverness can be grating it is never enough to put me off the book. Enjoyable throughout. ( )
  loafhunter13 | May 5, 2014 |
It’s a ghoulish game to hunt for “why’d you do it?” clues in the work of literary suicides. For anyone who actually cares about their writing, there is something close to a moral imperative to resist this vulture-like behavior as much as possible. But with David Foster Wallace, it’s really hard, because the reasons for suicide are overdetermined. While he is intellectually far more adroit, he can be just as confessional about his hopeless discomfort with existence as a not-so-great poet like Anne Sexton, so that you just want to look away after reading certain passages, and say to him (posthumously) PLEASE STOP SHARING.

I think suicide is caused by anhedonia that the sufferer perceives to be unalterable and no longer bearable, and this is true whether you are as sensitive a mental instrument as DFW or not, although the sensitive are obviously more vulnerable to it. But it’s also hard to imagine this writer being born into a worse time and place to have had the sensibility, concerns and the very type of talent he did. Imagine: a person who passionately believed that complex human expression via the written word was of profound, even vital importance being born into the Great Garbage Patch of mass communication in the US in the late 20th century, when it’s an inescapable fact that reading is a marginal activity of far less consequence to most people’s emotional and aesthetic lives than TV or film viewing, or even gaming. And language is much more effectively used as a tool to obscure and pervert and deny issues of consequence than to try to understand them. (This isn’t new, but the sheer quantity of information we now have to assess critically all the time makes it more consequential). All this comes just at the very moment when our society had achieved the economic and technological capacity to be fully and truly literate, with ease. That alone is enough to make you despair, if you care about language and ethics enough, and in these essays, it’s clear that David Foster Wallace did.

He doesn't make it easy for you to love language as much as he does, the stultifying way he too often uses it. But a kind of engaging clarity sometimes shines through, particularly when he's talking about other authors and why you should care about how they succeed or fail at what they do. Feminists should be grateful to him for outing Updike's Pathetic Phall-o-cy, in a way we never could and be heard, just as GIs can do for the condemnation of war. Essays on Kafka and Dostoevsky also stimulate and illuminate.

It’s funny: I think textual illiteracy is possibly the least of our literacy problems in the contemporary US: our social and ecological illiteracy are much worse for our chances as a society and a species. But I’m not anhedonic or despairing. Don’t ask me why. And don’t ask why David Foster Wallace was. There are too many answers.

http://christyrodgers.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/considering-consider-the-lobster-...
( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hK
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hK ( )
  Saretta.L | Mar 24, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316013323, Paperback)

Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. Whether covering the three-ring circus of a vicious presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting the World's Largest Lobster Cooker at the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:51 -0400)

For this collection, Wallace immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaigns in recent history. Later he strolls from booth to booth at a lobster festival in Maine and risks life and limb to get to the bottom of the lobster question. Then he wheedles his way into an L.A. radio studio, armed with tubs of chicken, to get the behind-the-scenes view of a conservative talk show featuring a host with an unnatural penchant for clothing that looks good only on the radio. Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humor? What is John Updike's deal anyway? And who won the Adult Video News' Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? Wallace answers these questions and more.--From publisher description."Long renowned as one of the smartest writers on the loose, David Foster Wallace reveals himself in Consider the Lobster to be also one of the funniest. In these pages he ranges far and farther in his search for the original, the curious, or the merely mystifying. His quest takes him into the three-ring circus of a presidential race to ask, among other urgent questions, why it is that the circles journalists walk in while whispering into their cell phones are always counterclockwise. He discovers the World's Largest Lobster Cooker at the Maine Lobster Festival and confronts the inevitable question just beyond the butter-or-cocktail-sauce quandary. He plunges into the wars among dictionary writers, deconstructing once and for all the battles between descriptivists and prescriptivists. And he talks his way into an LA radio studio, bearing buckets of fried chicken, to get an uncensored view of a conservative talk show and its alarmingly attired host."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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