Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All: An Essay [NOOK Book]

Overview

One of David Foster Wallace's most famous essays, now available as an eBook short.

Beloved for his keen eye, sharp wit, and relentless self-mockery, David Foster Wallace has been celebrated by both critics and fans as the voice of a generation. In this hilarious essay, originally published in the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, he ventures to the Illinois State Fair, where he examines butter sculptures, munches on ...
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Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All: An Essay

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Overview

One of David Foster Wallace's most famous essays, now available as an eBook short.

Beloved for his keen eye, sharp wit, and relentless self-mockery, David Foster Wallace has been celebrated by both critics and fans as the voice of a generation. In this hilarious essay, originally published in the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, he ventures to the Illinois State Fair, where he examines butter sculptures, munches on corndogs, and swaps stories with local exhibitors. As he wanders through this endlessly fascinating world, Wallace's one-of-a-kind blend of humor and insight is on full display. "Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All" is an uproarious and ultimately unforgettable foray into a classic part of American life and culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316224772
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 353,085
  • File size: 824 KB

Meet the Author

David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

Biography

Born in Ithaca, NY, and raised in Champaign, IL, David Foster Wallace grew up athletically gifted and exceptionally bright, with an avid interest in tennis, literature, philosophy, and math. He attended Amherst and graduated in 1985 with a double major in English and Philosophy. His philosophy thesis (on modal logic) won the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. His English thesis would become his first novel, The Broom of the System. Published in 1987 during his second year of grad school at the University of Arizona, the book sold well, garnering national attention and critical praise in equal measure. Two years later, a book of short stories, Girl with Curious Hair, was published to admiring reviews.

In the early 1990s, Wallace's short fiction began to appear regularly in publications like Playboy, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker, along with excerpts from his second novel, a complex, enormously ambitious work published in 1996 as Infinite Jest. Surpassing 1,000 pages in length, the novel was hailed as a masterpiece ("[A]n entertainment so irresistibly pleasurable it renders the viewer catatonic," raved Newsweek. "[R]esourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique," pronounced Atlantic Monthly), and Wallace was crowned on the spot the new heavyweight champion of literary fiction.

Hyperbole aside, Infinite Jest, with its linguistic acrobatics (challenging complex clauses, coined words, etc.) and sly, self-referential footnotes, proved to be the template for a new literary style. Subversive, hip, and teeming with postmodernist irony, the book attracted a rabid cult following and exerted an influence on up-and-coming young writers that is still felt today. The scope of Wallace's achievement can be measured by the fact that one year after the publication of Infinite Jest, he was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant."

Nearly as famous for his nonfiction as for his novels and stories, Wallace produced mind-boggling essays on assignment for magazines like Harper's. In contrast to his sad, dark, disturbing fiction, these essays -- subsequently collected into such bestselling anthologies as A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997), Everything and More (2003), and Consider the Lobster (2007) -- were ridiculously exuberant, fairly bursting with humor, energy, and good cheer. Yet Wallace himself suffered from clinical depression most of his adult life. He was treated successfully with anti-depressants, until side effects from the drugs began to interfere with his productivity. At his doctor's suggestion, he stopped taking the medication.The depression returned, and he did not respond to any further treatment. In September of 2008, at the age of 46, he committed suicide.

Wallace's influence on contemporary literature cannot be overstated. Descended from post-war superstars like Thomas Pynchon and Don De Lillo, his style is clearly visible in the work of postmodernists like Jonathan Safran Foer and Dave Eggers. His untimely death was mourned by critics, writers, and millions of adoring fans. As author David Lipsky stated in a tribute that aired on NPR in September, 2008: "To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ithaca, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 12, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Claremont, CA
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English & Philosophy, Amherst College, 1985;MFA, University of Arizona, 1987

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 41 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Excellem Excellent

    DFW is probably best known for his expansive yet deliberate literary schematics characterized by Oblivion and Infinite Jest. However, the fly-on-the-wall journalism that DFW regularly offered readers during the nineties and aughties was, to me,* his most compelling work. I wish that he was with us to see the technology of popular reading finally catch up to his work's idiosyncratic hypertextuality.** Throw away all those extra bits of paper for holding your place and pick up an e-reader.? This is how DFW's work is meant to be read.^??

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2000

    satire rules the modern world

    This title once again shows that Mr. Wallace is one of the premier quthors of modern fiction. The great thing about this book is that it isn't fiction. It is about the human psyche and how perception is played out in many feilds of interaction and display. If you found Infinite Jest to be humorous than imigine if it were a true story of social distress. That is what this book is presenting. Don't let the word essay scare you, this is not dull reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Fantastic!

    Clever, hilarious and uncannily truthful. Another amazing read by DFW.

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Janet J for Readers Favorite From a midwestern stat

    Reviewed by Janet J for Readers Favorite

    From a midwestern state fair, a Celebrity Caribbean Cruise, the effect of TV on the masses, pop culture, tennis, math, and pop culture, to an analysis of David Lynch films, this collection of essays by David Foster Wallace runs the gamut. The seven pieces in this 1998 collection, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," were originally commissioned for national publications including Harper’s Monthly. The essays including the more famous and hilarious 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again', penned aboard a luxury cruise ship, are thought-provoking and challenging, insightful, articulate, witty, ironic, and at times simply brilliant. This collection of essays by David Foster Wallace is also a reminder of American pre-recession, pre-911/ Home Security culture, before the heyday of reality television, smart phones and social networking. The footnotes compete with the text in value and are worthy of perusal on their own.

    With keen observations and a true genius for language, Wallace offers a most unique perspective on every subject he addresses, and does so with exhaustive determination. This collection is not a light read; each essay could also be approached within its cultural and historical context and appreciated from an academic point of view. In this audio version of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," the excellent narration by Paul Garcia complements the text, creating vivid visual images for the listener.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2011

    I may have missed something

    I was bored to tears reading this book. I didn't find any humor in it. It was dry and tedious. Not a fan.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    Amazing in a simple way

    I enjoyed A Supposedly Fun Thing so much that I have been recommending it to many people. That doesn't happen often; I am usually bored by essays because they are usually so self-conciously written. But Wallace writes like he's taking a risk at revealing what he really thinks; he seems genuinely in awe of the age in which he lives, and can't seem to believe it's happening to him even while it's happening (the cruise ship story). I'm glad I did not read Mr. Wallace's other works before this collection of essays. I'm not sure I will; from the reviews it seems that he has not grown into fiction and that using his words to reflect the modern world is hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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