Walking Infinite Jest is a one-credit course at Boston College. The course description reads as follows:
ENGL 3001 Walking Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace describes Enfield, Massachusetts—an important setting in his 1996 novel Infinite Jest—as “a kind of arm-shape extending north from Commonwealth Avenue and separating Brighton into Upper and Lower, its elbow nudging East Newton’s ribs and its fist sunk into Allston…”. Sound familiar? In this course, we’ll take advantage of our location to conduct a Bostonian’s reading of Wallace’s opus. Students will be required to write weekly critical reading responses, and should be prepared for the course’s non-traditional structure: weekly meetings won’t begin until week three, and will sometimes be canceled in lieu of weekend “on-site” meetings in Brighton and Boston. As we walk the same paths as the characters, we’ll consider just how close —or far—we really are to the world of Wallace’s novel.
This site is an evolving companion for the course – I’ll continue to add to it over the course of the semester and beyond. Please click on the links above for more information about the course itself or other relevant sites. Or, click on the sidebar to the right to wander through selections and excerpts which might inform your reading of Infinite Jest.
As I hope the design of this course suggests, Walking Infinite Jest is one of several organized explorations of Wallace’s Boston. I had a lot of help planning this course, and I want to be sure to acknowledge the very generous writers and scholars who shared their advice and expertise – they include Bill Lattanzi, Adam Kelly and William Beutler. Please click on their names to find out more about the great work they’re doing.