Thursday, August 28, 2014

David Foster Wallace novel translated by an 11-year-old – into Lego

Infinite Jest – the 1,000-page epic of American addiction and tennis – has been recreated in plastic bricks by an appropriately precocious child

Wednesday 27 August 2014   

Lego Infinite Jest
Ace idea …'p. 409. Clipperton plays tennis with the Glock 17 held steadily to his head'

How to get an 11-year-old interested in the works of David Foster Wallace? Crack out your copy of Infinite Jest, and recreate it in Lego. That was the project embarked upon back in April by American English professor Kevin Griffith and his 11-year-old son Sebastian. They've just finished, and – running to more than 100 scenes, as I guess any recreation of a 1,000-plus page novel would have to – it's something of a masterpiece. It certainly puts these Lego scenes of classic literature to shame.

Griffith and his son had the idea to "translate" Infinite Jest into Lego after reading Brendan Powell Smith's The Brick Bible, which takes on the New Testament. "Wallace's novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego," they write, grandly, on their website.

Griffith, who works at Columbus, Ohio's Capital University, told me that the book has also "really taken on a foothold as the 'novel of ideas' of the late20th and early 21st centuries". And what novel of ideas doesn't need a Lego version?

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