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Classic Novels, Ranked in Order of How Easy They Are to Study

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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest is an encyclopedic novel that caps off at around 1,000 pages, and a good chunk of those consist of digressions that wind up becoming endnotes, some of which have their very own footnotes. The book has been described with phrases like “metamodernist” (sometimes called “post-postmodernist”) and “hysterical realism,” just to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with.

The title comes from Hamlet’s monologue in Act 5 (“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy…”). This is the same play in which Polonius says, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” I’m sure the irony wasn’t lost on Wallace.

Topics: Books
Tags: animal farm, books we love, the scarlet letter, lord of the flies, the great gatsby, pride and prejudice, the catcher in the rye, jane eyre, great expectations, to kill a mockingbird, jane austen, classic literature, infinite jest, moby dick, classics, dracula, f. scott fitzgerald, classic novels, catch 22, virginia woolf, heart of darkness, to the lighthouse, the canterbury tales, one hundred years of solitude, absalom absalom, atlas shrugged, finnegans wake, on a scale from 1 to "what is going on"

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