digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















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.


  • 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)

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.
205 videos foundNext > 

David Foster Wallace on Bookworm [1997]

David on Bookworm in 1997 to discuss the buttclampingly awesome "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." Interviewer: Michael Silverblatt. KCRW owns the audio. Note: There are five David...

Book Report Card: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

A review of David Foster Wallace's non-fiction collection based on entertainment value, readability, and overall.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

NEW SINGLE! 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again' Palms are Al Grigg (singer, guitarist) and Tom Wallace (drummer, girlish backing vocals), who were previously in Red Riders. Brendan...

David Foster Wallace interview - The Soul is not a Smithy

Credit interview **To the Best of Our Knowledge** http://ttbook.org/book/david-foster-wallace In the stories that make up Oblivion, David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity...

Burnt Island - A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

The opening track of Burnt Island's sublime debut effort Music and Maths.

6230 A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Essays and Arguments by Wallace, David Foster

Get Audiobook as Free @ http://blog.qnaforum.net/go/get-free-audiobook/ Used Books, Free Shipping. Starting from $3.48, 6 Million UsedBooks in stock. Now with Free Shipping WorldWide! http://bett...

December Reads

Bookshelves completed. I can officially start buying books again. Affiliate links to books mentioned: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: http://www.bookdepository.com/Supposedly-Fun-Thing...

Fiction Book Review: A Supposedly Fun Thing Ill Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Fo...

http://www.FictionBookMix.com This is the summary of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace.

KiPlay- Silver HL Scrim- A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again

A Sunday night scrim between IFA and Calm Down on Borneo (the new one, which I've played... once?). The first few minutes is me reacting to the information that they expected me to be the main...

Literature Book Review: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: An Essay (Digital Original) b...

http://www.LiteratureBookMix.com This is the summary of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: An Essay (Digital Original) by David Foster Wallace.

205 videos foundNext > 

211 news items

UT Daily Beacon
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 23:56:15 -0700

My only frame of reference was David Foster Wallace's literary essay, sardonically titled "On a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again." As you might gather, he doesn't think too highly of cruises, and the essay details his many reasons why. He goes ...

Boston Globe (subscription)

Boston Globe (subscription)
Mon, 09 Mar 2015 21:03:02 -0700

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again” by David Foster Wallace (in particular the classic title essay and “Ticket to the Fair,” about the Illinois State Fair orginally published in Harper's in July 1994) is full of frenetic delights. More funny ...
New Zealand Herald
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 12:46:37 -0700

... but Wolfe was writing during a full-blown war, and Dyer's quieter book seems to me less like classic war journalism and more like David Foster Wallace's account of his time aboard the Zenith cruise ship, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again",


Sun, 15 Mar 2015 06:30:00 -0700

Like any good hipster, I try to jump off the bandwagon at every opportunity… unfortunately, though, I just can't shake my David Foster Wallace habit. From Consider the Lobster to Infinite Jest, when I'm feeling high or low, it's Foster Wallace I look ...
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 06:52:30 -0700

Mimi Baird was just shy of 6 when her father essentially disappeared from her life without explanation. By the time Baird was 8, her mother had remarried, and the family lived comfortably in suburban Boston. Some 50 years later, Baird began to seek ...


Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:44:29 -0800

I envision what David Foster Wallace described in his uproarious essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again": a tacky all-inclusive resort on water, complete with cramped quarters, all-hours stuffing-of-face with mass-produced eats, sunburned ...


Wed, 11 Feb 2015 07:56:15 -0800

Everybody knows cruises are basically floating, kitschy death cults, thanks to David Foster Wallace's famous essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." Knisley herself invokes Wallace early on. She sketches a witty little portrait of him ...


Thu, 08 Jan 2015 04:09:13 -0800

You know the kind: mop-haired hipsters dragging themselves through The Broom of the System, Wallace's first novel, getting their angry fix from the essays of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster. I was one of them. I am ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight