February 22, 2006

Bright light

The first issue of lit mag n+1 has a pretty sweet review of David Foster Wallace's Oblivion and, for a short piece, has a lot of concise things to say about what's going on in his writing.

There's also an interesting discussion about Wallace and Jonathan Franzen, the one-liner of which is "The truth is, Wallace has already written his next big novel - it's called The Corrections." And in discussing the connection between the two writers the reviewer (Chad Harbach) goes on to say:

Even Franzen's selection of his fictional family's surname (lambert, n.: the centimeter-gram-second* unit of brightness equal to the brightness of a perfectly diffusing surface...) must be read either as conscious or unconscious homage to Wallace's Incandenzas.
I guess it necessarily has to be either conscious or unconscious. But, still, these sorts of connections kinda flip my wig.

*This description didn't make sense to me at first. The actual units of a lambert are lumens per square centimeter. It's in the centimeter-gram-second unit system ... which includes stuff like ergs and maxwells.

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