"Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of our country, and it won't help if you all cower in places like Madison and the Upper West Side, having hot fantods
over the approach of fascism.
Affection for it may not extend much beyond fans of 19th-century literature who can take pleasure in hearing words like "rodomontade," "faugh" and "fantods
" resurrected, albeit in a tale of quarreling lesbian lovers that would have observers of the Victorian era in which it is set reaching for their smelling salts.
Instead of passions, they've got the fantods
. They are nervous and jerky.
Dillard's prose is simultaneously crowded and vibrant: She deals out details of the natural world (the men stand on a ten-foot platform to avoid having to saw through many extra feet of gummy, pitch-laden bark that swells near the ground); she flatters us with a vocabulary so patently unabridged that 1, for one, read her books in the company of a good dictionary (one of the two men realizes his ignorance and it "gives him the fantods
"); her descriptions tend to arrest the mind's eye in its tracks (as the men drew the crosscut saw between them, "muscles moved all over their two backs like salmon in creeks").
Numerous characters suffer a kind of existential dread--sometimes referred to as "The Howling Fantods
"--that is often related to their own sense of loss, depression, and neuroses, in Understanding David Foster Wallace, Marshall Boswell discusses the existential concerns raised in the novel and conducts a compelling reading of the "existentialist" (2) philosophy found in Kierkegaard's Either/Or as it relates to the "aesthetes" (Kierkegaard's term for hedonists inadequately protected from depression by their sophistication and irony) in Infinite Jest who attempt to escape the self through hip irony (Boswell 137-41, 143-45).
For more insight into The Fantods
of Risk we spoke with author H.