It’s no secret that the vocabulary David Foster Wallace used in Infinite Jest is at a level few authors, and perhaps fewer readers, would ever hope (or want) to achieve. I don’t care who you are — and this includes well-weathered lexicographers — you’ll find words you’ve never seen before in Infinite Jest.
Which is how we ended up with a theme for many of this month’s posts.
In the annals of cliché history, the phrase “wouldn’t it be great if someone” has preceded thousands of great ideas that, for one reason or another, were abandoned and either lost to time or picked up for profit by someone else. (e.g., “Wouldn’t it be great if someone put sleeves in this blanket?”) And certainly someone — probably multiple someones — got about a quarter of the way through the literary jungle that is Infinite Jest and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone collected all of David Foster Wallace’s unusual and off-kilter words in one place and defined them?”
Many have thought that, I’m sure. And someone actually did it!
While I was researching online for the upcoming IJ posts, I stumbled upon the David Foster Wallace Wiki, a crowdsourced compendium that offers spoiler-free, page-by-page definitions of some of the more or less esoteric vocabulary found in IJ.
|Twelfth-century facepalm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
But then you’d miss my clever word play, unexpected connections, and overall sparkling personality.
And my humility.
Tomorrow, then, we begin with the shortest word on my Infinite Jest vocabulary list.