Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

271

Everything and More Foreword

2003

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about how he also grew up in the Midwest, contemporaneous with DFW, and had a lot of respect for him as a writer. makes some weird claims about midwestern values that I find suspect. also goes into the difficulties of writing a book about math for the average reader, but DFW does a good job anyway. the only thing really worth reading in this whole book

Stephenson, N. (None). Everything and More Foreword. In Stephenson, N. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. , pp. 271-286

284

[...] DFW could write high-powered prose better than just about anyone but he well knew the value of mixing it with informal day-to-day English, and, though he was especially good at it, it's worth keeping in mind that he was hardly the first great English writer to do so. For every Milton who kept it all on an elevated plane there was a Shakespeare who knew how to sock us in the chops with some well-timed plain talk (among reviewers with humanities degrees, it also seems compulsory to make some remark--or, just as well, to go on at some length--on "post-modernism," a topic of zero interest to most actual readers).

on the criticisms of DFW's style of mixing high-end vocab with pop culture references and slang

—p.284 by Neal Stephenson 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] DFW could write high-powered prose better than just about anyone but he well knew the value of mixing it with informal day-to-day English, and, though he was especially good at it, it's worth keeping in mind that he was hardly the first great English writer to do so. For every Milton who kept it all on an elevated plane there was a Shakespeare who knew how to sock us in the chops with some well-timed plain talk (among reviewers with humanities degrees, it also seems compulsory to make some remark--or, just as well, to go on at some length--on "post-modernism," a topic of zero interest to most actual readers).

on the criticisms of DFW's style of mixing high-end vocab with pop culture references and slang

—p.284 by Neal Stephenson 1 year, 6 months ago
285

[...] DFW's writing reflects an attitude that is lovely: a touching, and for the most part well-founded, belief that you can explain anything with words if you work hard enough and show your readers sufficient respect. [...]

As an explanation for milder allergic reactions--and, having proselytized DFW's writing to many friends over the years, I've seen a few--some readers posit (often vaguely and fretfully) that there is some archness or smart-assery in DFW's literary style. This, to me anyway, is an unsupportable conclusion, given the obvious love that DFW brings to what he's writing about, and his explicitly stated opposition to irony-as-lifestyle in his essay E Unibus Pluram. Why do people see it when it's not there? It's something to do with the fact that his conspicuous verbal talent and wordplay create a nagging sense among some readers that there's a joke here that they're not getting or that they are somehow being made fools of by an agile knave. Which DFW was not.

[...]

So in reading Everything and More, cleverness or verbal pyrotechnics or archness are not the emotional tone that comes through to me, but a kind of open-soulness and desire to connect that were touching before, and heartbreaking after, David Foster Wallace succumbed, at the age of 46 to a cruel and incurable disease. Because of this we will not have the opportunity to enjoy and profit from many other explanations that it was in his power to supply on diverse topics, lofty and mundane, and so we must content ourselves with what he did leave behind--an impossibility given the pleasure and the insight he gave us in Everything and More, and his obvious ability to have provided much more, had fortune treated him with as much consideration as he did his readers.

something that i'd like to capture in my from-first-principles posts!

also, the "in his power" could be a sly reference to his undergraduate thesis in philosophy :D

—p.285 by Neal Stephenson 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] DFW's writing reflects an attitude that is lovely: a touching, and for the most part well-founded, belief that you can explain anything with words if you work hard enough and show your readers sufficient respect. [...]

As an explanation for milder allergic reactions--and, having proselytized DFW's writing to many friends over the years, I've seen a few--some readers posit (often vaguely and fretfully) that there is some archness or smart-assery in DFW's literary style. This, to me anyway, is an unsupportable conclusion, given the obvious love that DFW brings to what he's writing about, and his explicitly stated opposition to irony-as-lifestyle in his essay E Unibus Pluram. Why do people see it when it's not there? It's something to do with the fact that his conspicuous verbal talent and wordplay create a nagging sense among some readers that there's a joke here that they're not getting or that they are somehow being made fools of by an agile knave. Which DFW was not.

[...]

So in reading Everything and More, cleverness or verbal pyrotechnics or archness are not the emotional tone that comes through to me, but a kind of open-soulness and desire to connect that were touching before, and heartbreaking after, David Foster Wallace succumbed, at the age of 46 to a cruel and incurable disease. Because of this we will not have the opportunity to enjoy and profit from many other explanations that it was in his power to supply on diverse topics, lofty and mundane, and so we must content ourselves with what he did leave behind--an impossibility given the pleasure and the insight he gave us in Everything and More, and his obvious ability to have provided much more, had fortune treated him with as much consideration as he did his readers.

something that i'd like to capture in my from-first-principles posts!

also, the "in his power" could be a sly reference to his undergraduate thesis in philosophy :D

—p.285 by Neal Stephenson 1 year, 6 months ago