• Contact Information

    Dr. Kim Middleton

    Office: 423 Western Ave. #7

    email: kmiddleton_at_strose.edu

    phone: 518 485-3647

    hours: MTW 5-6, and by appt.
  • RSS infinite summer

    • Infinite Index
      Here is a calendar and index of IS posts, for those who jolietta online casino wish to tackle the novel in the summers to come.
    • Acknowledgements
      Back in April, when I set out to recruit three more Guides, I decided to start with the folks I thought would be best suited for the role and then move down the list as I accumulated rejections (of which I expected plenty). Instead, to my great fortune, the first three people I asked accepted. […]
    • Summer’s End Roundtable, Part IV
      This is the last of a four-part roundtable discussion with the Infinite Summer Guides. Infinite Summer: Did Infinite Jest change your life? Avery Edison: It’s definitely got me reading books again, which is marvelous. I hadn’t realized how much the internet had affected my ability to just sit down and read a book, and — […]
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List of Stubs

Here is the list of people’s stubs, available for comments on Friday:

  • Beth: Hal and Mario’s relationship
  • Danielle: Stasis
  • Louis: Suicide
  • Randy: Marijuana
  • Sean: Fears and phobias
  • Scott:  AA

Revised Final Portfolio Guidelines

Your final portfolio should include the following items:

  • 7 blog entries
  • EITHER two wiki entries devoted to secondary sources (including publication information, a comprehensive description of the author’s argument, a few examples, an assessment of the utility of the article, and any relevant links); OR one entry devoted to a secondary source AND one devoted to Wallace’s other writings (including publication information, a summary, a few examples, an assessment of the ways that the piece may or may not contribute to reading Infinite Jest, and any relevant links)
  • One extensive “stub” (wiki entry) dedicated to analysis of Infinite Jest (including a brief introduction to the topic or theme,  important passages/quotes/scenes and page numbers, analysis of these passages, and consideration of the ways that this topic works in relation to the entirety of the novel, internal or external links)
  • One thoughtful response (posted as a thread) to a classmate’s extensive “stub”, that includes your reactions to their analysis and synthesis of the topic, additional support AND/OR critique AND/OR questions based on  additional quotes, themes, sources, etc.
  • A final reflective essay/post about the experience of reading Infinite Jest.  This essay may either be turned in via email to me, or posted on your blog. In either form, please list the titles of your wiki entries, your stub, and the location of your response thread.

Please complete the “stub” portion of your portfolio first (so that others may comment), no later than Friday, 8/21 @ 5 p.m.  All other portions of your portfolio are due no later than Sunday, 8/23 @ noon.

Reflective Essay Assignment

Your final piece of writing for this short course is designed to help you surface and articulate the significance of your experiences and insights in this class. The point of a reflective essay of this nature is to describe and analyze your experiences so as to reach new understandings of yourself in relation to the text, your peers, the world.

To that end, please describe at least three specific moments, experiences, scenes, quotes, etc. that have had a major impact on your development as a reader/writer/thinker/literary critic/English student/”word nerd”.* For each

  1. describe the event (paying attention to context—what happened?  what were the most significant, specific features of it?)
  2. explain HOW that moment shifted or changed you (in what ways did the event/quote/experience create a particular effect?)
  3. and WHY that shift is important in your development

In essence, you’re close reading your own experiences here to locate the important themes that have arisen in the last three weeks.

Once you have described and analyzed your experiences, write a short introduction and conclusion that track the themes that emerged from your reflection. What terms, concepts, and phrases provide evidence of the complex ways that your thinking/being has progressed and shifted over the course of your time?

Please bring a draft of this essay (with at least two examples and their analyses) with you, in digital form, to class on Wednesday.  The final draft is due with your portfolio on Friday, and may either appear on your blog or you may send a copy to me via email.

Questions you might consider as you move toward choosing particular moments/experiences to work with:

  • Read back over your blog posts and comments.  Are there any parts of these that now take you by surprise, or seem out of character?  Use these passages to examine what you were feeling at the time, and what might have occasioned these reactions.
  • Look at your blog posts for epiphanies and moments of brilliance.  Can you determine the role that writing plays in your thinking/reading process?
  • Think back over the novel.  What are the scenes or quotes that stand out the most (either in a positive or negative way)?  Which character do you have the strongest attachment or aversion to?  Locate a representative passage to center your analysis of your reaction to this example.
  • Look back over your notes for any doodles, or excessively marked notes you may have taken during class.  What might these tell you about your experience of the novel?  Of class discussion?
  • Consider your interaction with the other people in class.  What might an examination of a particular class discussion reveal about the ways that you make meaning in a text?  interact with other readers and writers?
  • Describe a moment of frustration with the novel.  What can that frustration tell you about the expectations you bring to a text?  Where do those come from?  What, if any, changes did this reading experience affect in those expectations?

*You don’t have to address all of these categories.  Pick and choose the one/ones most relevant to you and your experiences over the past three weeks.

On Endnotes

Given our conversation about the role of endnotes, I thought you might like a taste of that same conversation from Infinite Summer.  You can find the entire call and response here, and below is a small taste of Matt Baldwin’s take, which sets the tone for the rest:

I have gone back and forth on the issue about two dozen times in the last month, and right now I’m learning away from “essential literary device” and toward “gratuitous pain in the ass”. Plus I just don’t buy any of the rationales I’ve heard for them: that they simulate the game of tennis, that they simulate the fractured way we’d be receiving information in Wallace’s imagined future, that they are there to constantly remind you that you are reading a book, etc. I’d be more inclined to believe these theories Infinite Jest was the only thing Wallace had written that included them. But the more you read his other works, the more it becomes obvious that Wallace couldn’t even sign a credit card slip without bolting on an addendum. The dude loved endnotes–I’m pretty sure that’s the only real reason they are there.

DFW Conference

CUNY  (or at least a couple of particularly intrepid graduate students at CUNY) are hosting a one-day conference on Wallace and his work.  Read the entire call for papers here, but a few highlights are as follows:

We welcome papers exploring any aspect of Wallace’s work. Some suggested directions:
1) Reconsideration of Wallace’s Oeuvre: Papers examining Wallace’s neglected early works Broom of the System and Girl with Curious Hair; new perspectives on Infinite Jest; the direction of Wallace’s later work.

2) Wallace’s Literary Context: The reception of Wallace’s work and the way his image has been shaped by his fans, the media, and the academy; examinations of Wallace’s relation to his literary forebears, both 20th century and earlier; Wallace outside the bounds of “postmodernism”; Wallace’s influence on contemporary literature.

3) Theorizing Wallace: Wallace’s treatment of language and formal or figurative qualities in Wallace’s writing; applications of narrative theory to Wallace’s texts or consideration of his narrative innovations; Wallace’s analytic, phenomenological, or existential contexts; treatment of the self and subjectivity; relation to ethics/values/morality; feminism and gender issues.

4) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Wallace: The use of math, logic, philosophy, science, technology, politics, sociology, psychology, law, etc. in Wallace’s work; pedagogical issues related to Wallace’s work.

The deadline for 250-word proposals is this coming Friday, 8/15.

Wiki Criteria

Below is our working list of criteria for our own wiki entries:

  • provide specific context from the novel (page numbers, quotes)
  • where relevant, reference literary contexts as well
  • appropriate use of argument and opinion based on evidence
  • analysis of quotes, themes, explanations of their meaning to the whole of the novel
  • links to other works (of the author, secondary sources, etc.)
  • analysis of structure/meaning as opposed to simplified emphasis on authorship
  • discussion of the role of characters (as opposed to like/dislike)

Infinite Summer et Toi

Just a quick heads up:  we’ve been very generously given a brief shout-out from the good people at infinite summer.  You can see the link here.  No pressure or anything.  Just say smart things.  🙂