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Date & Time

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
6:05 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore




Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Jon Baskin discusses "Ordinary Unhappiness:The Therapeutic Fiction of David Foster Wallace." He will be joined in conversation by Ben Jeffery. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

About the book: In recent years, the American fiction writer David Foster Wallace has been treated as a symbol, as an icon, and even a film character. "Ordinary Unhappiness" returns us to the reason we all know about him in the first place: his fiction. By closely examining "Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," and "The Pale King," Jon Baskin points readers to the work at the center of Wallace's oeuvre and places that work in conversation with a philosophical tradition that includes Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Cavell, among others. What emerges is a Wallace who not only speaks to our postmodern addictions in the age of mass entertainment and McDonald's but who seeks to address a quiet desperation at the heart of our modern lives. Freud said that the job of the therapeutic process was to turn "hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness." This book makes a case for how Wallace achieved this in his fiction.

About the author: Jon Baskin is the Associate Director of the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program at the New School for Social Research and a founding editor of The Point.

About the interlocutor: Ben Jeffery is a PhD candidate in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and a contributing editor for The Point magazine. He is the author of "Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism" (Zero Books, 2011). His writing has appeared in or on The Point, n+1 and the Times Literary Supplement. He is currently working on a dissertation about Shakespeare.
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