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Signifying Rappers Paperback – July 23, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

ACCLAIM FOR DAVID FOSTER WALLACE:

"The Best Mind of His Generation"―A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing...about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve. At his best he could write funny, write sad, write sardonic and write serious. He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane. He could conjure up an absurd future...while conveying the inroads the absurd has already made in a country where old television shows are a national touchstone and asinine advertisements wallpaper our lives."―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"One of the most influential writers of his generation."―Timothy Williams, The New York Times

ACCLAIM FOR SIGNIFYING RAPPERS:

"Costello and Wallace's pioneering study is a dazzling performance: informative, provocative, funny and brilliantly written, an intellectually wired style combining subtle and original thought with great wit, insight, and in-your-face energy."―Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Two educated white guys do the right thing by scoping out 'The Meaning of Rap' without pretending to know everything about it...Signifying Rappers is both a cogent explication of rap and a cutting, revealing parody of overinflated pseudointellectual rap criticism."―Seattle Weekly

About the Author

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (July 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316225835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316225830
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oddly prescient. The text is a little tortured, especially as DFW is attempting to wrap his gift for deep insight and reconcile it with a sentence structure he would later master, but it's a worthwhile read. Especially when you realize how little things have changed over the years; this could be a 33 1/3 book spanning a genre published in 2015.
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Format: Paperback
I have read the other reviews on this book and they are overwhelmingly positive. So I am not sure what it is that I am missing. This is my first introduction to David Foster Wallace and his writing style, so I am not sure if this book is typical of his work or not. Perhaps it is an acquired taste? Maybe his other works are different?
Let me first state that I am a huge fan of hip-hop and rap and as such was excited to get this book and read more about the genre and its origins. As a West Coast teen in the late 80's N.W.A. and Ice-T were constantly playing on my Walkman. So I am definitely a fan of the music and genre as a whole.
The book: I am not sure how to express my disappointment with this book. I do not have the words to properly convey how horrible the reading experience was for me. I recognize that the co-author Costello openly admits that his book is a collection of essays by DFW and they put the book together after the fact, so that may contribute to the challenges I had with this book. But the material reads like a sociologist's jumble of field notes and observations. The thoughts are rarely coherent or build one upon the next. The writing style is frantic and just overwhelmingly long-winded. I am not an English or Literature teacher, so I am not an expert when it comes to syntax, grammar, punctuation, and proper writing conventions but it does not take a scholar to recognize that this book is a mess. There are run-on sentences that go on and on full of circular reasoning that just muddy the waters and confuse the topic at hand. The author often diverges off of the topic to bring in other elements in order to prove a point or offer background on the social climate of the time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very fascinating read. Its great to read anything by David Foster Wallace and this is no exception. I particularly enjoyed the extended introduction by co-writer Mark Costello which provided excellent insight to the two writers' lives at the time of writing this as well as their process.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a masterpiece by any means but still a worthwhile read. The authors give us a glimpse into the world of rap when it was entering it's heyday. Gives you an insightful (yet always) an outsiders point of view. Interesting read.
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