Whether literature will save us or not is a poetic question, and the narrator’s prosaic denunciation of its false promises cannot settle the matter one way or another. Towards the end the narrator throws his manuscript into a burning abyss, choosing to save his child with Irina. How then are we left with this lexical arabesque delineating the contours of the possibility space occupied by human consciousness in an indifferent world? Solenoid answers the riddle by positioning itself qua literary work as a noble lie. In successfully reporting the narrator’s choice of the human satisfactions of love and commitment the literary work overcomes its chimerical destiny.
"Focusing on iconic dishes from Paris, Naples, Tokyo, Seville, Oaxaca, and Istanbul von Bremzen attempts to bring light rather than the usual heat to the concept of a national dish in a globalized world where surprisingly nationalism is resurgent. She doesn’t to her credit pretend that stories about a few dishes from six countries provide a comprehensive account of the productive tension between national and world cuisine, although a sequel covering other national cuisines is acknowledged as a live possibility. A first principles approach to the question of theorising the national dish shows even a book covering every existing national cuisine is not up to the task. This is because—as von Bremzen acknowledges—the constitutive concepts of nation and national culinary identity are themselves of recent vintage and subject to ongoing negotiation; they are open to influence from actors at home and abroad."
Are some writers so morally unsavoury that their novels, however admirable, are incapable of being lovable? Amy Hungerford, Ruth Fulton Benedict Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, certainly thinks so. In her polemic against Wallace in general, and Infinite Jest in particular, she opines that Wallace’s zealous defence of the length of his doorstop against a condescendingly described Michiko Kakutani’s protestations can only be evidence of his misogyny.
There are several specific references to pitches and chords in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Most of these are unfortunate and reveal a lack of adequate research or editorial oversight. We can love writing and writers without losing perspective about the difference between the two. Learning to live with a beloved writer’s foibles, and triumphs, is not a betrayal of the writer’s vision but a blow for their work’s longevity and enduring relevance in the face of its own and its author's failings. To acknowledge our heroes have feet of clay is not to deny their heroics, but to find them grounded in our world. It’s all well and good to say Wallace achieved something transcendent in Infinite Jest, but to deny the sour notes in his recital doesn’t establish his virtuosity as much as it shows us to be tone deaf.