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A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
First Edition hardcover
Author David Foster Wallace
Cover artist Elizabeth Van Itallie
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Little, Brown and Co.
Publication date
1 February 1997
Media type Print (hardback, paperback)
Pages 353 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-316-91989-6
OCLC 35318437
Preceded by Infinite Jest
Followed by Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments is a 1997 collection of nonfiction writing by David Foster Wallace.

In the title essay, originally published in Harper's as "Shipping Out", Wallace describes the excesses of his one-week trip in the Caribbean aboard the cruise ship MV Zenith, which he rechristens the Nadir. He is ironically displeased with the professional hospitality industry and the "fun" he should be having and explains how the indulgences of the cruise turn him into a spoiled brat, leading to overwhelming internal despair.

Wallace uses footnotes extensively throughout the piece for various asides. Another essay in the same volume takes up the vulgarities and excesses of the Illinois State Fair.

This collection also includes Wallace's influential essay "E Unibus Pluram" on television's impact on contemporary literature and the use of irony in American culture.


Essays collected in the book:

  • "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" (Harper's, December 1991, under the title "Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes")

- An autobiographical essay about Wallace's youth in the Midwest, his involvement in competitive tennis, and his interest in mathematics.

  • "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction" (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 1993)
  • "Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All" (Harper's, 1994, under the title "Ticket to the Fair")

- Wallace's experiences and opinions on the 1993 Illinois State Fair, ranging from a reports on competitive baton twirling to speculation on how the Illinois State Fair is representative of Midwestern culture and its subsets.

  • "Greatly Exaggerated" (Harvard Book Review, 1992)

- A review of Morte d'Author: An Autopsy by H. L. Hix, including Wallace's personal opinions on the role of the author in literary critical theory.

- Wallace's experiences and opinions from visiting the set for Lost Highway and his thoughts about Lynch's oeuvre.

  • "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" (Esquire, 1996, under the title "The String Theory")

- Wallace's reporting of the qualifying rounds for the 1995 Canadian Open and the Open itself, with the author's thoughts on the nature of tennis

and professional athletics.

  • "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (Harper's, 1996, under the title "Shipping Out")

- Wallace's experiences and opinions on a seven night luxury Caribbean cruise.

In popular culture[edit]

In his 2011 book That Is All, John Hodgman titles a chapter about taking a cruise "A Totally Fun Thing I Would Do Again as Soon as Possible." The name of the 2012 Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again" also references the title essay. Tina Fey's 2011 memoir Bossypants also includes a chapter on her own cruise experience, entitled My Honeymoon: Or, A Supposedly Fun Thing That I’ll Never Do Again Either, in which she jokingly suggests that those who've heard of Wallace's book should consider themselves members of the "cultural elite", who hate their country and flag. Italian indie rock band Absolut Red released in 2013 their first record, titled "A Supposedly Fun Thing We'll Probably Do Again".[1]


  • Wallace, D. F. (1997). A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-92528-4
  • Wallace, D. F. (1996). "Shipping Out", Harper's Magazine, January 1996 (292:1748)
  1. ^ http://absolutred.bandcamp.com

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Supposedly_Fun_Thing_I'll_Never_Do_Again — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

6 news items


Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:35:09 -0700

"A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (1997). By David Foster Wallace. The trip. Call it a long essay or a short book -- either way, Wallace's exuberantly detailed account of life aboard a Caribbean luxury liner is easily the funniest thing ever ...


Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:44:32 -0700

David Foster Wallace's writing had a profound impact on poet Jenni B. Baker. Such a profound impact, in fact, that she decided to memorialize it with her own poetry, half a decade after DFW's death. Baker is not the only one to make art out of DFW's ...


Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0700

Why it's a classic: This homage to the writing of David Foster Wallace (the title is a tweak on Wallace's essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again") is yet another tale of a Simpson family vacation gone awry, but it's centered on a melancholy ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:01:46 -0700

In the forthcoming drama The End of the Tour, he plays the late David Foster Wallace, the brilliant, brittle author of Infinite Jest and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. The film is based on a series of interviews the writer gave to ...

The Independent

The Independent
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 05:04:30 -0700

The atmosphere is so up and expectant, not at all what I might have expected after reading David Foster Wallace's essay on cruise ships, entitled 'A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again'. (I'm aware that mentioning DFW in this context is very ...
Helsingin Sanomat
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:25:01 -0700

Kaikille se ei ole houkuttelevaa. Sarja psykologian tutkimuksia osoittaa, että amerikkalaiset ihmiset iästä riippumatta – vanhimmat tutkimuksiin osallistuneet olivat 77-vuotiaita – tekivät mieluummin edes jotain, kuin vain istuivat omien ajatusten ...

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