- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (29 Nov. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241144825
- ISBN-13: 978-0241144824
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.1 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 693,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Both Flesh And Not Hardcover – 29 Nov 2012
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Praise for Both Flesh and Not
On David Foster Wallace:
"The Best Mind of His Generation"-- New York Times "A.O. Scott "
"Scarily astute. . . . Published originally between 1988 and 2007, these essays demonstrate Wallace's interdisciplinary approach to both pop culture and abstruse academic discourse...For Wallace devotees, these essays are required reading." "Booklist""
"The Best Mind of His Generation" A.O. Scott, "New York Times""
"A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing...about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve. At his best he could write funny, write sad, write sardonic and write serious. He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane. He could conjure up an absurd future...while conveying the inroads the absurd has already made in a country where old television shows are a national touchstone and asinine advertisements wallpaper our lives." Michiko Kakutani, "New York Times""
"One of the most influential writers of his generation." Timothy Williams, "New York Times""
"A novelist with the industrial-strength intellectual chops to theorize even our resolutely anti-intellectual age....Wallace's ear for dialogue was unmatched in contemporary fiction." Lev Grossman, "Time"" --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
David Foster Wallace, who died in 2008, was the author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System. His final novel, The Pale King, was published posthumously in 2011. He is also the author of the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair, and his non-fiction includes several essay collections and the full-length work Everything and More.
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Top Customer Reviews
During his lifetime, Wallace published two collections of essays, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider The Lobster (2005). It is difficult to convey the flavour of these books, but if you wanted a preview I'd suggest having a look at one of the videos of the author reading his work on YouTube (for example, the 28 minute video 'Another Random Bit'.)
Wallace was certainly an uneven writer, and some of his work is infected by the pretentious diction of Academic English. Nor was he a particularly successful critic: his least interesting essays are those dealing with other writers.
But his best work (for example, the pieces on the Illinois State Fair and cruise liners in A Supposedly Fun Thing) is truly remarkable, as good as anything that Orwell wrote.
Both Flesh and Not (2012) collects fifteen essays which appeared in various American periodicals between 1988 and 2007. The range of topics is characteristically diverse - tennis, fiction, cinema, Wittgenstein, mathematics - although the average standard is perhaps lower than in the first two collections. In a sense, this is not surprising: the essays in Both Flesh and Not are (for the most part) those that were not selected for inclusion in the earlier collections. As such, they are, in a sense, the Second Team.
Still, they are well worth reading. Wallace is one of the few recent writers of whom one seriously wonders if he was a genius.
The title takes its name from one of Wallace’s best-known essays, “Federer Both Flesh and Not”, first published in the New York Times in 2006 under the more prosaic title of “Federer as Religious Experience”. It is difficult to do justice to the work, which opens the anthology, in a paraphrase and this resistance to paraphrase is merely one of several literary qualities. Another is the way in which Wallace operates on so many levels at once, complementary as well as juxtaposed.Read more ›
"Both Flesh and Not" - The compilers hit the ground running with what is arguably DFW's most well-known essay; a long and performative piece about Roger Federer's tennis genius which acts as a way-in for DFW to examine the state of modern tennis in general. Possibly the best example of his tripartite prose style, Both Flesh and Not melds hyperbolic and lyrical writing with high-level technical language and a penchant for multi-page, off-tangent footnotes. The overly long and microscopic focus on, for example, a particular ground-stroke of Federer's, or the ballet of his backhand, is equal parts tedious and hypnotic, but plough through the jargon long enough, and you'll eventually be rewarded with such gems as:
"The truth is that TV tennis is to live tennis pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love."
"Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young" - In which DFW successfully equates the 1980's rise of utilitarian, adjective-hating, snarky prose with "the aesthetic norms of mass entertainment". The idea that "Television's greatest appeal is that it is engaging without being at all demanding" would later become a significant and oft-repeated part of his critical ideology.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant. Worth buying just for the essay on Federer. DFW has unique insights into just about everything.Published 22 months ago by Shirin