July 21, 2011
The DFW-Eugenides Plot

Since today is Things Vaguely Related to DFW Day on the McNJ tumblr: Yesterday over on New York’s Vulture blog Willa Paskin posited that Leonard, a character from Jeffrey Eugenides’ forthcoming novel The Marriage Plot, is based on David Foster Wallace. And she’s right! And not just because he has a vague interest in the way time works. And, you know, chew and a bandana.

As Leonard and his femalefriend Madeleine approach the Cape Cod lab at which Leonard has a fellowship:

"Who took my saliva?" Leonard said, as the buildings, where they were to live for the next nine months, appeared. "Do you have my saliva? Because I can’t find mine right now."

Which is almost identical to this, literally the lede from Frank Bruni’s 1996 profile of DFW:

Nervousness and dread frequently chase David Foster Wallace, and when they catch him, as they have now, he writhes and twitches and prattles at a breakneck clip, his incessant quips running the gamut from marvelous to mundane. ”Do you have my saliva?” he asks a companion in his cab, reflecting on the way his jitters have drained all moisture from his mouth. ”Somebody took my saliva, because I don’t have it.”

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    Blowing my mind this morning.
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