Attempted Fax Cover Sheet

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Early-1998, David Foster Wallace faxed the text of an essay about Kafka over to Harper's Magazine. The piece was accompanied by strict instructions as to its usage, in the form of the following cover sheet.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of georgelazenby.



Transcript
ATTEMPTED FAX COVER SHEET

From: David Wallace

To: Joel Lovell, Harper's [redacted] (Office [redacted])

This is pretty much the best I can do, I think. I feel shitty sticking a lot of what you wanted in FN’s, but I didn’t see any work to work it into the main text w/o having to rewrite whole ¶s and throw the thing’s Styrofoamish weight off.

The deal is this. You’re welcome to this for READINGS if you wish. What I’d ask is that you (or Ms. Rosenbush, whom I respect but fear) not copyedit this like a freshman essay. Idiosyncracies of ital, punctuation, and syntax ("stuff," "lightbulb" as one word, "i.e."/"e.g." without commas after, the colon 4 words after ellipses at the end, etc.) need to be stetted. (A big reason for this is that I want to preserve an oralish, out-loud feel to the remarks so as to protect me from people’s ire at stuff that isn’t expanded on more; for you, the big reason is that I’m not especially psyched to have this run at all, much less to take a blue-skyed 75-degree afternoon futzing with it to bring it into line with your specs, and you should feel obliged and borderline guilty, and I will find a way to harm you or cause you suffering* if you fuck with the mechanics of this piece.)

Let Me Know,

Dave Wallace

* (It may take years for the oportunity to arise. I’m very patient. Think of me as a spider with a phenomenal emotional memory. Ask Charis.)