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45

Wallace's Ambivalence toward Insight: The Epiphany in "Octet" and "Adult World" (I) and (II)

by Jacob Hovind

(missing author)

1
terms
3
notes

? (2019). Wallace's Ambivalence toward Insight: The Epiphany in "Octet" and "Adult World" (I) and (II). Clare Hayes-Brady, 2, pp. 45-70

47

Against epiphany's overuse in the contemporary short story landscape, as well as its logic of "personal fulfillment," I broadly suggest that in his short fiction Wallace consistently seeks to shed the epiphany of the calcification and stagnation it's come to have in short fiction, redeploying it as a radical site of connection between author and reader. In reimagining the epiphany concept as a space to interrogate his own readers' capacity for feeling or emotional clarity, Wallace's short fiction comes to challenge not only the solipsism of the more popular domestic or psychological fiction in which the epiphany concept is most commonly applied. [...]

ahhh hmmm

—p.47 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago

Against epiphany's overuse in the contemporary short story landscape, as well as its logic of "personal fulfillment," I broadly suggest that in his short fiction Wallace consistently seeks to shed the epiphany of the calcification and stagnation it's come to have in short fiction, redeploying it as a radical site of connection between author and reader. In reimagining the epiphany concept as a space to interrogate his own readers' capacity for feeling or emotional clarity, Wallace's short fiction comes to challenge not only the solipsism of the more popular domestic or psychological fiction in which the epiphany concept is most commonly applied. [...]

ahhh hmmm

—p.47 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago
50

[...] Whether one choose maximalist cleverness of minimalist epiphany-mongering, the deadening result, that lack of "something real," remains the same. If truly meaningful fiction, as Wallace suggests to McCaffery, "locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness," and if fiction's great promise is to reveal our lingering capacity despite all our invitations to solipsism to still be able to make "genuine connections," then the banal commonness of the epiphanic mode "perverts the giving, helps render what is supposed to be a revelation a transaction." [...]

—p.50 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago

[...] Whether one choose maximalist cleverness of minimalist epiphany-mongering, the deadening result, that lack of "something real," remains the same. If truly meaningful fiction, as Wallace suggests to McCaffery, "locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness," and if fiction's great promise is to reveal our lingering capacity despite all our invitations to solipsism to still be able to make "genuine connections," then the banal commonness of the epiphanic mode "perverts the giving, helps render what is supposed to be a revelation a transaction." [...]

—p.50 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago
53

[...] Ultimately, what these asides hint at is the wholly transformative power of the epiphany to come, the one that will make Jeni "a very different person," one who will presumably no longer be subject to the obsessive narcissism of the young wife, her attempts at caring for her husband only flimsy masks for her own intensely navel-gazing self-interest. Only after her epiphany will she be able to look back "on the towering self-absorption of her naivete in those years" with "a mixture of contempt and compassion for the utter child she had been."

on adult world

—p.53 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago

[...] Ultimately, what these asides hint at is the wholly transformative power of the epiphany to come, the one that will make Jeni "a very different person," one who will presumably no longer be subject to the obsessive narcissism of the young wife, her attempts at caring for her husband only flimsy masks for her own intensely navel-gazing self-interest. Only after her epiphany will she be able to look back "on the towering self-absorption of her naivete in those years" with "a mixture of contempt and compassion for the utter child she had been."

on adult world

—p.53 missing author 7 months, 1 week ago

(chemistry) the combining power of an element. or like, aspect

55

Wallace is equally attuned to the religious valence of the concept

—p.55 missing author
notable
7 months, 1 week ago

Wallace is equally attuned to the religious valence of the concept

—p.55 missing author
notable
7 months, 1 week ago