A diagram of nearly all1 the characters in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, with connections and relations shown thereamong. — $25

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About the poster

The images above are taken from the poster. I suggest downloading the PDF to get a sense of whether it's something you'd like to pay for. The poster is 36" x 24" and was printed offset with two colors (black and yellow) on 80# Lynx Opaque (Smooth White) paper. The poster was printed at Rolling Press in Brooklyn New York and I highly recommend using them for all your printing projects.

Orders are handled by PayPal. You don't need a PayPal account to place an order. I'm happy to ship anywhere in the world. Posters are rolled and shipped in pretty reliable Uline kraft tubes via Priority or International Priority service from the US Postal Service. I use the USPS because I believe in the federal postal service and anyway as far as I can tell it's cheaper (especially overseas) than other options. I generally fulfill each order within 3-5 days or receiving it, depending on what all else is going on. It's a cottage industry. Egregious delays and ensuing dissatisfaction will be rectified, one way or another. (updated 3/30/15)

** International Shipping **

If you are in the UK, you may receive a notice that an Import VAT or Clearance Fee must be paid before your poster can be delivered. Other countries may have similar systems. Be advised, you are responsible for paying this tax. It can be (don't hold me to this) in the area of 22£ which is actually more than the price of the poster, not including the basic shipping cost. So a poster sent to London might total $5 + $40 shipping + 22£ VAT = about $77 US. This is really a lot, too much, but unfortinately there is nothing I can do to bring the cost down. This information has not been updated since 2015.

That said, you are free to order multiple posters. I can ship up to 4 in a single tube before they get too thick to roll up. So why not buy 4, keep one, and sell the other 3? This would basically cover the shipping cost. Or better yet, ask your local bookstore to buy some wholesale (email me for more info).

About the PDF

The PDF is a modified version of the poster: at 34 x 22 inches it's slightly smaller than the poster so as to print reasonably well on 4 tiled sheets of 11x17 paper. Some adjustments were necessary to avoid putting names on the seams of the sheets, but the PDF contains the exact same information as the poster.

Some probably obvious things to note

This diagram is not in any way an explanation or synopsis of the plot. It's a diagram of the connections among the characters.

It's not spatially denotative. That is, where names appear is somewhat important but not to-the-letter accurate in terms of showing the relative strength of relationships between characters, or in terms of showing how characters relate to each other in the time of the novel or in the space of the book. All of my attempts to add layers of data to the diagram led to almost immediate over-complication and confusion. Thus, there is no thickness or color of line to denote the greater or lesser importance of a connection between characters. Because family is an important theme of the novel, I've shown where connections are by family with a dotted line. There's no change in type size to denote the importance of a given character. Etc.

It's really, really hard to know where exactly to delimit the Great Concavity. Where the novel is vague, a map must be specific, even when it is being demapped. I did the best that makes sense to me, based on two readings of the novel and what others have speculated elsewhere.

Most important, this diagram is not any kind of substitute for really reading Infinite Jest. It's not even close. That's obvious, but I mention it because there other projects out there that are efforts to offer a different way of reading a narrative text. This is not that. The best I can hope for in terms of this diagram's relationship to Infinite Jest is that it's a) as accurate as I could make it and b) a reminder of the seemingly endless details and pleasures to be found in Wallace's masterpiece.

Also: this wonderful piece by the late Aaron Swartz: What Happens at the End of Infinite Jest? (or, the Infinite Jest ending explained)


For taking the time to look over early drafts and offer improvements:

This project would have been infinitely more difficult without the following online resources:

— Sam Potts


Email here.

I'll do my best to respond to any questions, complaints, or concerns.