On top of the growing popularity of ebooks and the Orwellian end of the written word as we know it, Jonathan Franzen now has to deal with this. And he just lost self-proclaimed “Luddite” Thomas Pynchon to the digital tide.
Infinite Atlas is a new website that maps every location found in the late David Foster Wallace’s tome Infinite Jest, on a worldwide Google map. It is fittingly and meticulously thorough, in spite of the fact that the novel takes place in an alternate reality without things like the USA (anymore).
No one can accuse William Beutler, the creator of “Infinite Atlas,” of half-assing the project, whose map is littered with markers users can click for a note about how the location fits into the story, what pages make reference to the locale and a link to its Wikipedia page (when applicable). The website covers the both the actual places and the places of Wallace’s invention, ranging from the obvious—locations in and around Boston, including Enfield Tennis Academy, and Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (sic)—as well as the extremely obscure—like Brattleboro, VT., which the marker volunteers as: “[w[here C.T.’s father was ‘killed in a freak accident playing competitive darts’ in a tavern.” Every hometown of every tennis player, every Don Gately arrest, is marked. Many of them make reference to characters that I have absolutely no recollection of, however now I know where they watched the last episode of M*A*S*H.