Our reading section from last weekend, pages 760 to 801, was an especially tough section because there are three multi-page footnote entries. Well, first there was footnote 304, referenced on page 732, the one Canelli referenced, that’s seven pages long. This footnote came early in the reading that was due last Friday, and it acts as a warning for the next three footnotes:
- footnote 321, nine and a half pages
- footnote 324, six pages
- footnote 332, three pages
18 1/2 pages of eight-point font: this comes out to something like 298 pages in the main text’s font. Goddamn it, goddamn it! Why? Why are these here? Especially footnotes 324 and 332? These are important as they document the downfall and expulsion of Pemulis.
Here’s my theory as to why they’re footnotes and not part of the main text: DFW’s editor put his foot down and told him that he had to cut these from the story, so as a sly “Fuck You” DFW re-inserted them as footnotes.
But here’s the thing: once you get past those 18 1/2 pages of footnotes (in addition to the 42 pages of main text), it’s clear sailing for the last 180 pages of the main text. There’s just, like, three more pages of footnotes, the longest being just 12 lines (footnote 369).
So that’s it. In some way, after hitting page 801 in the IJ, you’ve crested some hill and suddenly the end is within site. I’m sure that’s how Canelli felt, because the feeling is palpable for me now. I mean, given the ease of my class’s most recent assigned book (How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid), what’s to stop me from just finishing IJ all at once this weekend, too? After meeting today’s deadline, page 875, there’s just over 100 pages left. Why not?
PS: Is it weird that I feel like half my posts on IJ have been about my progress and page counts? That I write just as much (if not more) about the experience of reading IJ as I do about what’s in IJ? Is it just me?