Sunday, January 8, 2017

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1st edition, 1st printing)

Happy New Year!

Due to my critical writing picking up, I'm going to formally step back from The Oxen of the Sun and aim for a major, meaningful update once a month. Over the past year and half I challenged myself to a new post once a week, which I more-or-less was able to achieve. It was an interesting challenge, in that it forced me to keep up the pace with my collecting. However, as my library's been growing more refined and I've been getting into art collecting, I'm trying to focus my major acquisitions to just that: major, long-lusted-after items. Things like this:

This is a first edition, first printing of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. It just might be one of the best books I've ever read. This time last year I embarked with a number of other readers on "Infinite Winter", a season-long online reading group led by a handful of passionate readers and scholars. (I even contributed a few columns as a guest writer.) I'd always had a standing respect for DFW's books, but this is the big one: it's one of those rare books that's inseparable from its reading experience -- I'll always remember where I was in my life when I was exploring the Enfield Tennis Academy with the Incandenza family, learning about the Entertainment and the Clipperton Suite.

In one of my columns I wrote about how I'd always had a copy of the book but never got around to reading it. Collector-wise, it wasn't worth much and I ended up selling it (it was a first edition but a later printing). I'd had hopes of finding a 1st/1st and waited patiently... this one came up for just over $200 on eBay a little while ago and I pulled the trigger. It's surprisingly clean for its price and in great shape.

The first printing has some great quirks: favorite author William T. Vollmann's name is spelled incorrectly on the back, and there's an enigmatic ring on the bottom-right corner of the last page of the novel (before the endnotes).

Thrilled to finally call this my own. All that's left is one of the rare hardcovers of The Broom of the System and then I'll be all set!

As always, thanks for reading and I'll see you next month with something new and exciting. 

Currently reading:
Commotion of the Birds by John Ashbery

Currently listening to:
"Native North America" compilation by Light in the Attic