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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.
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5 news items

CT Post
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:26:15 -0700

The novelist David Foster Wallace made the point best in his classic essay about a liner cruise, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," when he was dismayed to find in the publicity brochure an essay by the distinguished author Frank Conroy ...
Los Angeles Times
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:08:52 -0700

The novelist David Foster Wallace made the point best in his classic essay about a liner cruise, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," when he was dismayed to find in the publicity brochure for Celebrity Cruises an essay by the distinguished ...

WPTZ The Champlain Valley

WPTZ The Champlain Valley
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:26:15 -0700

As every traveler knows, a good sense of humor is essential when facing the mysteries and miseries of a foreign culture. That's what makes writers who can deliver fascinating stories from around the world while making us snort our cardamom chai through ...


Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:12:13 -0700

I timen før kveldens panel skal diskutere frihet, lykkejag og depresjon, leser jeg A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll never do again av den amerikanske forfatteren David Foster Wallace. Her beskriver Wallace, som selv var alvorlig deprimert, syv dager som ...
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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