Tag Archives: Sierpiński

Infinite Jest As Sierpiński Gasket

David Foster Wallace’s INFINITE JEST was written (according to DFW) almost as a Sierpiński Gasket. The Sierpiński Gasket is a fractal and attractive fixed set named after the Polish mathematician Wacław Sierpiński who described it in 1915. However, similar patterns appear already in the 13th-century Cosmati mosaics in the cathedral of Anagni, Italy and other places, such as in the nave of the roman Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Originally constructed as a curve, this is one of the basic examples of self-similar sets, i.e. it is a mathematically generated pattern that can be reproducible at any magnification or reduction.

Download an mp3 version of the interview Michael Silverblatt did with DFW where he [DFW] talks about the novel as a sort of crumbling Sierpiński Gasket here:

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