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September 15, 2008

All of David Foster Wallace's articles for Harpers are free to download

David Foster Wallace (Harper's Magazine)

It goes without saying that we can't recommend these enough.

Also, back in 2000 DFW traveled with the McCain campaign for Rolling Stone magazine. He eventually released an ebook and then a print book collecting the whole thing. Needless to say, it's worth checking out these days.

September 13, 2008

David Foster Wallace found dead at home

Writer David Foster Wallace found dead - Los Angeles Times

This is awful.

David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 tome "Infinite Jest," was found dead last night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.

Jackie Morales, a records clerk at the Claremont Police Department, said Wallace's wife called police at 9:30 p.m. Friday saying she had returned home to find her husband had hanged himself.

Wallace won a cult following for his dark humor and ironic wit, which was on display in such books as "Girl with Curious Hair" and "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men." In 1997, he received a MacArthur "genius" grant.

Seeing DFW read in Ann Arbor was the moment when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I've always found his style, wit and depth to be extremely inspirational. He should have spent the next 40 years being brilliant. This really isn't fair.

September 12, 2008

Is Prosepero's Island in Massachusetts?

Prospero's Island? :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education's Source for News, Views and Jobs

Very in depth article that proves the point quite admirably.

Short version: Shakespeare's patron funded a trip to colonize the New World and the play was inspired by the trip, labor disputes and the local native tribes.

In hopes of having a fortune waiting if he ever got out of the Tower, Henry decided to fund an expedition to colonize America. It set sail in March 1602. At the helm was a young adventurer named Bartholomew Gosnold, who had recently brought both glory and booty to England as privateer (that is, an officially licensed pirate, expropriating wealth from Spanish ships). By late spring, Gosnold and his crew had reached Maine and were making their way down the coast of what would eventually be called New England. They named places as they went. A cape with plenty of cod became Cape Cod. In honor of his daughter, Gosnold named one island Martha’s Vineyard. Another, very much smaller body of land he called the Elizabeth Island – after Gosnold’s sister, it seems, not his monarch, though it was still a savvy move.

Upon disembarking at Elizabeth, the captain and his men encountered a number of members of the Wampanoag tribe — who were, with the benefit of hindsight, probably much too genial for their own good. Despite the language barrier, gifts were exchanged. The Englishmen managed not to enslave or exterminate anybody. The two groups parted ways amicably. (In later years the Elizabeth Island would be renamed “Cuttyhunk” as a very rough approximation of its orginal Wampanoag name.)

The explorers did not find any gold, but they harvested an enormous amount of sassafras, which recent advances in medical science had shown to be an effective treatment for syphilis. Alas, not really. But until someone figured this out, sassafras was valuable.

September 08, 2008

JK Rowling wns fight against publisher of Harry Potter lexicon

JK Rowling wins copyright claim over Harry Potter Lexicon | Books | guardian.co.uk

This makes no sense to me. Anyone more versed in copyright law care to explain how this is just in the comments section?

JK Rowling has won her claim that a fan violated her copyright with plans to publish an A to Z of Harry Potter. A US judge ruled today that the unauthorised guide would cause her irreparable harm as a writer.

Rowling filed a lawsuit against RDR Books, a Michigan-based company, last year over the Harry Potter Lexicon on the grounds that it lifted huge portions of her stories without adding any original thought or interpretation. She called the project "wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work".

August 25, 2008

IRL grammar Nazis fix the wrong sign

Suddenly, shit got real. Serves the smart-asses right. Backstory: Real Life Grammar Nazis | via journalista! | ChiTrib | Typo personalities | Armed with Sharpies, erasers and righteous indignation, two apostles of the apostrophe make it their crusade to rid the world of bad signs via | independent.co.uk | Tipp-Ex kids fined for correcting America's missing apostrophes
A bizarre campaign against grammatical incorrectness has landed two young Americans in deep trouble. The pair, Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, who have roamed across America using marker pens and Tipp-Ex to correct bad spelling and grammar on less-than-literate signs, went a little too far when they amended a historic, hand-painted noticeboard at Grand Canyon National Park. They were arrested, given probation, ordered to pay a $3,035 (£1,640) repair bill, and banned from all US national parks.... At the Grand Canyon National Park, the men had found a 60-year-old sign with a misplaced apostrophe and a missing comma. They duly whipped out Tipp-Ex and pen, and made the corrections. They then spotted that "immense" was spelled as "emense". They were shocked, but stayed their hands. Mr Deck later wrote: "I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further.... Still, I shall be haunted by that perversity, "emense" in my train-whistle-blighted dreams." Despite their self-control, arrest and swift retribution followed.