Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

1

Introduction: A Living Transaction

Value, Ground, and Balancing Books

13
terms
5
notes

about Wallace's presumed quest for balance, and the way he tries to understand "value" (which is, itself, a multivalent term). the goal: a "culture-wide redemption of value" (p.31)

Severs, J. (2017). Introduction: A Living Transaction. In Severs, J. David Foster Wallace's Balancing Books: Fictions of Value. Columbia University Press, pp. 1-32

when a word or phrase has multiple meanings (from Greek)

2

For Wallace, value, kept loose and polysemous, could connect depression's internal discourse

—p.2 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

For Wallace, value, kept loose and polysemous, could connect depression's internal discourse

—p.2 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago
3

The balance scale, I argue, was the image to which he kept returning for reconciliation of his varied ambitions, beginning from his naming of his first protagonist--an LB--after a standard unit of weight, money, and work (from the Latin libra, balance) and continuing through his romancing of IRS balance sheets.

this feels kinda BS to me

—p.3 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

The balance scale, I argue, was the image to which he kept returning for reconciliation of his varied ambitions, beginning from his naming of his first protagonist--an LB--after a standard unit of weight, money, and work (from the Latin libra, balance) and continuing through his romancing of IRS balance sheets.

this feels kinda BS to me

—p.3 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

(verb) to reduce the mental or moral vigor of / (verb) to lessen the vitality or strength of

4

The effect of such forces is, for his characters, enervating

I always think it means the opposite

—p.4 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 5 months ago

The effect of such forces is, for his characters, enervating

I always think it means the opposite

—p.4 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 5 months ago
7

[...] Wallace also argues that literary texts are ideally engaged with proving existence: Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress should have been titled "I EXIST", which Wallace says is the "signal that throbs under most voluntary writing--& all good writing" [...]

why I write! see note 83

—p.7 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

[...] Wallace also argues that literary texts are ideally engaged with proving existence: Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress should have been titled "I EXIST", which Wallace says is the "signal that throbs under most voluntary writing--& all good writing" [...]

why I write! see note 83

—p.7 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

"the art of poetry"; also a poem written by Roman poet Horace in 19 BC, in which he advises poets on the art of writing poetry and drama

9

in this essay that led him into the writing of Infinite Jest lies an allegorical ars poetica

—p.9 by Jeffrey Severs
strange
3 years, 5 months ago

in this essay that led him into the writing of Infinite Jest lies an allegorical ars poetica

—p.9 by Jeffrey Severs
strange
3 years, 5 months ago

(in philosophy) the study of values and value judgments

14

My third and most important philosophical guidepost on value is axiology

Severs includes DFW's definition of axiology from Both Flesh and Not

—p.14 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

My third and most important philosophical guidepost on value is axiology

Severs includes DFW's definition of axiology from Both Flesh and Not

—p.14 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

"assuming the initial point"; a fallacy of circular reasoning

17

a textbook petitio principii

quoted from Oblivion

—p.17 by David Foster Wallace
confirm
3 years, 5 months ago

a textbook petitio principii

quoted from Oblivion

—p.17 by David Foster Wallace
confirm
3 years, 5 months ago

the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation (adj: semiotic)

20

attempts a fusion of semiotic, economic, and psychoanalytic systems

—p.20 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

attempts a fusion of semiotic, economic, and psychoanalytic systems

—p.20 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago
22

Unlike Pynchon, however, Wallace does not wish to dump the legacy of Calvinism; he seeks to build fictions around work and the fervent call to work, an activity he recurrently sees not just in terms of the labor theory of value but, through the lens of Hegel, as the only way of creating a fully viable self. Whether through an executive washroom attendant, diligent cruise-ship workers, or an actuary who dies prematurely of a heart attack, Wallace consistently makes work heroic and tragic, its lack, avoidance, or meaninglessness a sign of his most lost, and, in the realm of laborless capitalist value extraction, most evil figures. Absorption in work seems to be a reliable antidote to depression and feelings of worthlessness. Hegel's bondsman is a recurrent trope, as is metaphysical slavery in general.

need to think about this more FLAG

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

Unlike Pynchon, however, Wallace does not wish to dump the legacy of Calvinism; he seeks to build fictions around work and the fervent call to work, an activity he recurrently sees not just in terms of the labor theory of value but, through the lens of Hegel, as the only way of creating a fully viable self. Whether through an executive washroom attendant, diligent cruise-ship workers, or an actuary who dies prematurely of a heart attack, Wallace consistently makes work heroic and tragic, its lack, avoidance, or meaninglessness a sign of his most lost, and, in the realm of laborless capitalist value extraction, most evil figures. Absorption in work seems to be a reliable antidote to depression and feelings of worthlessness. Hegel's bondsman is a recurrent trope, as is metaphysical slavery in general.

need to think about this more FLAG

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice of John Calvin

22

Unlike Pynchon, however, Wallace does not wish to dump the legacy of Calvinism; he seeks to build fictions around work and the fervent call to work, an activity he recurrently sees not just in terms of the labor theory of value but, through the lens of Hegel, as the only way of creating a fully viable self.

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

Unlike Pynchon, however, Wallace does not wish to dump the legacy of Calvinism; he seeks to build fictions around work and the fervent call to work, an activity he recurrently sees not just in terms of the labor theory of value but, through the lens of Hegel, as the only way of creating a fully viable self.

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

referring to a passage titled "Lordship and Bondage" in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, which describes the master-slave dialectic

22

Hegel's bondsman is a recurrent trope, as is metaphysical slavery in general.

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

Hegel's bondsman is a recurrent trope, as is metaphysical slavery in general.

—p.22 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago
23

The denigration of work, the celebration of efficiency, and the worship of the market are all hallmarks of the ideology that has dominated the United States since the late 1970s, neoliberalism. [...] At his most political, Wallace chronicles the long-term infiltration of neoliberal ideology into the American and global scene. Reagan's union busting plays a role in my analysis of Broom, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) figures in Infinite Jest, which repeatedly makes ideas of freedom and trade, those neoliberal bywords, cross from political and economic spheres to the complexly interpersonal.

mildly interesting

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

The denigration of work, the celebration of efficiency, and the worship of the market are all hallmarks of the ideology that has dominated the United States since the late 1970s, neoliberalism. [...] At his most political, Wallace chronicles the long-term infiltration of neoliberal ideology into the American and global scene. Reagan's union busting plays a role in my analysis of Broom, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) figures in Infinite Jest, which repeatedly makes ideas of freedom and trade, those neoliberal bywords, cross from political and economic spheres to the complexly interpersonal.

mildly interesting

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

the postulate that markets are organised most effectively by private enterprise and that the private pursuit of accumulation will generate the most common good; accomplished by opening international markets and financial networks, and downsizing the welfare state

23

The denigration of work, the celebration of efficiency, and the worship of the market are all hallmarks of the ideology that has dominated the United States since the late 1970s, neoliberalism

includes a definition of neoliberalism by Alissa G. Karl

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

The denigration of work, the celebration of efficiency, and the worship of the market are all hallmarks of the ideology that has dominated the United States since the late 1970s, neoliberalism

includes a definition of neoliberalism by Alissa G. Karl

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

a prolific 19th-century American writer, best known for his many young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty

23

if moral values are, like money, inherited, then so, too, may the morally impoverished of his 1980s generation, new versions of Horatio Alger, go get jobs

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

if moral values are, like money, inherited, then so, too, may the morally impoverished of his 1980s generation, new versions of Horatio Alger, go get jobs

—p.23 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago
25

Wallace weds to the perspective of Hardt and Negri a Wittgensteinian awareness that there can be no metaphor capacious enough to capture language's operations.

just thought this was a nice sentence

—p.25 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

Wallace weds to the perspective of Hardt and Negri a Wittgensteinian awareness that there can be no metaphor capacious enough to capture language's operations.

just thought this was a nice sentence

—p.25 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments

28

I describe in chapter 4 the dialectic of computerized complexity and balance-scale simplicity that underlies the moral vision of Brief Interviews.

—p.28 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

I describe in chapter 4 the dialectic of computerized complexity and balance-scale simplicity that underlies the moral vision of Brief Interviews.

—p.28 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

(noun plural but singular in construction) the study or collection of coins, tokens, and paper money and sometimes related objects (as medals)

28

in addition to finding new dimensions in his representation of numismatics

—p.28 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

in addition to finding new dimensions in his representation of numismatics

—p.28 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names

29

Wallace's suicide has made for more personalized tributes and roman à clefs than studies of influence usually account for

—p.29 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago

Wallace's suicide has made for more personalized tributes and roman à clefs than studies of influence usually account for

—p.29 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 5 months ago