Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mistakes Corrected in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Infinite Jest (And Some That Weren’t)

Little, Brown recently rereleased Infinite Jest in an alluring new paperback edition for its twentieth anniversary. They did a lot to ensure that the endlessly lauded novel will emerge anew for the next generation of readers. Not only does it sport a fan-made cover, deckle edges, and a new introduction by Tom Bissell, cracking it open and taking a close look at the text reveals that it has undergone some rather extensive proofreading as well. Some might wonder whether editing the text is prudent considering the author can no longer approve any changes, but I think LB’s editorial staff did a wonderful job. Even though there are a few things they didn’t catch (listed at the end), they spotted way more unintentional errors than I think anyone realized were in the book. And a good 92% of their emendations help Infinite Jest put its best foot forward for first-time readers.

. . . But that other 8% really needs to be fixed for the next edition.
:) (I’m referring to pgs. 440-442, 761, 981, and 1035.)

(ps- If you have anything to add to either list, please leave a comment.)

(pps- There are mistakes on pages 281, 429, and 990, but damned if I could find them. If anyone can spot them, please leave a comment.)

Corrections [previous editions]:

pg. 11: O. says he can only remember (sic) saying something caustic . . . [sic]

pg. 22/23: Two dry mouths bumping at each other, trying to kiss, his self-conscious thoughts twisting around on themselves like a snake on a stick while he bucked and snorted dryly above her, his swollen eyes red and his face sagging so that its slack folds maybe touched, limply, the folds of her own loose sagging face as it sloshed back and forth on his pillow, its mouth working dryly. [is]

pg. 89: ‘Go shit in your chapeau,’ Steeply wheezed, bringing up his legs to survey the hosiery’s damage. [bring]

pg. 92: . . . and whose passionate, ill-disguised attachment (Tine’s) to this double-amanuensis . . . [amaneunsis]

pg. 95: Michael Pemulis, who can stand about ten seconds of communal silence tops, clears his throat deeply and sends a loogie up and back into the sink behind him. [clear]

pg. 100: ‘I’m waiting till the last possible second to even breathe. I’m no expanding the cage till driven by necessity of air.’ [til]

pg. 127/128: Nobody knows where he comes from or why he’s allowed to stay . . . [why’s]

pg. 240/241: . . . the Leisure Time Ice Company, a Discalced monastery, the combined St. John’s Seminary . . . [Dicalced]

pg. 254: That this professional was going to tell Rusk and Schtitt and C.T. and the Moms that I couldn’t deliver the goods. [No closing quotation mark]

pg. 256: I put a hand to each temple and rocked back and forth in the chair, weeping. [in]

pg. 269: Hal Incandenza, who’s probably as asymmetrically hobbled . . . [asymetrically]

pg. 330: Lord has to ferry messages from one side to the other . . . [side the]

pg. 374: The Why of the Disease is a labyrinth it is strongly suggested all AAs boycott . . . [labrynth]

pg. 393: . . . with a sonic background of that sad sappy Italianate stuff Scorsese had loved for his own montages . . . [Scorcese]

pg. 403: They look both to be of the good old U.S.A. [U.S.A..]

pg. 409: . . . both Schtitt and deLint have assured all future potentially mercy-minded E.T.A. males. [de Lint]

pg. 427: . . . let’s just make the example that it is a hapless Canadian . . . [it a]

pgs. 440-442: Removal of colons when nobody says anything, e.g. “VEALS [Blows nose at high volume]” ***NOTE: I don’t this change should’ve been made, especially since similar changes weren’t made on pgs. 877-883***

pg. 442/443: It’s suggested in the 3rd of Boston AA’s 12 Steps that you turn your Diseased will over to the direction and love of ‘God as you understand Him.’ [you to turn]

pg. 447: At about 8-10 Heinekens he used to all of a sudden throw his Reader’s Digest against the wall . . . [Readers’]

pg. 460: Neil Hartigan, in his traditional Tahitian shirt and Gauguin-motif sweater . . . [Gaugin]

pg. 499: . . . allowed the top of his bottom’s crack to appear above the waist of his white pants. [above the the waist]

pg. 529: ‘Or like a combination of Medusa and Circe, your Odalisk,’ said Steeply. [Omits comma]

pg. 572: You’ve seen the coprolite plaque in Tavis’s office. [placque]

pg. 574: ‘Body a temple and suchlike? [No closing quotation mark]

pg. 580: . . . but over then having to watch his widowed asymmetrical Pop cave psycho-spiritually . . . [asymetrical]

pg. 657: ‘Don’t kid yourself, babe,’ deLint got out. [de Lint]

pg. 687: . . . tells the bureaucrat that he’s a good worker and a fine man . . . [that’s]

pg. 706: . . . when Himself had changed careers from government service to private entrepreneurism . . . [entreprenurism]

pg. 736: [Triple-line break at top of the page has been fixed, correctly re-aligning the entire page]

pg. 752: Or calculating also whether to telephone not Antitoi Entertainment but the 24-hour costless prefix . . . [Entertainent]

pg. 752/753: Or else to summon directly Steeply and the white-suiting forces of O.N.A.N. [O.N.A.N..]

pg. 761: She made as if to clutch her head. ‘Don’t ask, I’ll start whingeing. Tomorrow’s going to be hellishly busy.’ [starting] ***NOTE: Previous editions had a period after Don’t ask and should be changed back***

pg. 781: This will happen quickly if unused to alcohol. [happened]

pg. 790: . . . featuring an interment and not a cremation. [interrment]

pg. 801: Even though Inner Infant sounds uncomfortably close to Dr. Dolores Rusk’s deaded Inner Child . . . [Doloros]

pg. 848: . . . it’s not like he ran to her dilapidated house to confide in her, or bond. [dilapitated]

pg. 857: . . . who live in pipes probably didn’t have too much to go on besides your gut-type intuitions. [to]

pg. 871: All this took place in less than a second. [than second]

pg. 973: . . . that at the podium liked to say ‘The truth will set you free, but not until it’s done with you.’ [will you set]

pg. 981: [The partial circle in the lower-right corner makes its first appearance since the hardcover, but is cut off way too much]

pg. 1024: [The rectangular area in the chart HALSADICK is shaded, like it was in the hardcover]

pg. 1026, note 134: . . . Montesian, whose paralyzing alcoholic stroke the physician had treated . . . [paralyzying]

pg, 1031, note 167: . . . but except for a flat PBS-ish one on the lay principles of DT-annulation . . . [priciples]

pg. 1035, note 209: . . . feet up in the cold, kibitizng Hal and Schacht and the other kids lugging parts. [kibbitzing] ***NOTE: Yes, the “correction” is different mistake***

pg. 1058: . . . “game” as metaphysical environment and psychohistorical locus and gestalt.’ [geatalt]

pg. 1067: He was wearing only an unbuttoned little flannel shirt . . . [only an an unbuttoned]

pg. 1076, note 336: (according to his sudoriferous and agora-compulsive younger brother, M. Bain) [sudiferous and and agora-compulsive]

Still Uncorrected:

pg. 78/79: And just before 0145h. on 2 April Y.D.A.U., his wife arrived back home and uncovered her hair and came in and saw the Near Eastern medical attachĂ© and his face and tray and eyes and the soiled condition of his special recliner, and rushed to his side crying his name aloud, touching his head, trying to get a response, failing to get any response to her, he still staring straight ahead; and eventually and naturally she—noting that the expression on his rictus of a face nevertheless appeared very positive, ecstatic, even, you could say—she eventually and naturally turning her head and following his line of sight to the cartridge-viewer. [Note: arguable]

pg. 90: ‘A person with no political value to anybody except that the Saudi Ministry of Entertainment made one the hell of a shrill stink.’ [Note: arguable]

pg. 170: . . . (or Ololiuqui or datura’s scopolamine, or Fluothane, or Bufotenine (a.k.a. ‘Jackie-O.’) . . . [Needs another closed parenthesis]

pg. 327: . . . played by tanned and energetic little kids and so this might naturally expect to see fuzzless green warheads . . . [Change to ‘then’ or omit?]

pg. 386: P.M. CAN [Needs a period after CAN for consistency, x3]

pg. 867: . . .  hollering “We got him, boys, we done got him!’ ” [Reverse single and double quotation marks]

pg. 1005: . . . that every single one of Ms. Dickinson’s canonical poems could by sung without loss or syllabic distortion to the tune of ‘The
Yellow Rose (of Texas).’


  1. It's a shame about the (first) p752 correction: it *should* say Antitoi Entertainent.

    1. I did wonder if they fixed some intentional errors....

  2. The "Lieber Gott nein" superscript mistake on page 82 is still extant in the 20th Anniversary Edition, complete with the weird 'nein-single apostrophe-comma' compression. Perhaps the most glaring mistake in the book, grammatically.

  3. On page 540, the word "kill" is missing from a key sentence about rats. Also, on page 273, the word iota goes in place of iona. Other inconsistencies include how the font changes page to page (e.g., 427-28-29 and 856-57, etc.). Various other typeset problems persist throughout (uneven spacing from top of page). Noticed many sentences framed as questions that end in periods, but I suppose some of those could be author choices, and yes, there are many intentional errors as well, some of which must never be changed.

    1. Any page that has a font change (sometimes just a single line) differs from the previous edition of IJ in some way. It's just a matter of finding what they changed...I wasn't able to on pages 281, 429, 990.

  4. I can't find anything wrong on pages 281 or 429, either, but on my 990 there are some printing problems with the filmography: every italicized word has a superscript 1, and the film titles run into the "Year of the.." so that the characters are actually superimposed on the page.