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Valdré, R. (2017). The End of the Tour - A Journey into the Mind of David Foster Wallace: A Psychoanalytic and Artistic Reflection Through the Film. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(3):909-925.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(3):909-925

Film Essay

The End of the Tour - A Journey into the Mind of David Foster Wallace: A Psychoanalytic and Artistic Reflection Through the Film

Rossella Valdré

Gentlemen, welcome to the world of reality - there is no audience. No one to applaud, to admire.

No one to see you. Do you understand? Here is the truth -actual heroism receives no ovation, entertains no one. No one queues up to see it. No one is interested.”

(David Foster Wallace, 2011)

The End of the Tour, by James Ponsoldt, shown with success at the Sundance Festival and much anticipated by the critics, went on general release in American cinemas on 31 July 2015. I was at the premiere: the auditorium was packed.

The film brings some precious material back into the light: the long interview recorded in 1996 by the young Rolling Stone journalist, David Lipsky, with the writer David F. Wallace, who had suddenly become a cult author after the publication of his magnificent third novel Infinite Jest (1996). The ‘interview’ lasted for five days, the most tumultuous, exciting and sleepless of Lipsky's life, reported in full in his book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David F. Wallace (2010), on which the film is faithfully based. I put the term ‘interview’ in inverted commas because, reading his book but, above all, seeing the film, we realize it is much more than that: the reason for the interview which the editor commissioned from Lipsky, is transformed from the outset into a highly fertile encounter, rich in exchanges and reflections on every aspect of life and art, thick with emotions, profoundly sincere and authentically human. David Lipsky, at the time a passionate novice journalist and already an admirer of Wallace, travelled from New York to Illinois, where Wallace had been living for a year in a landscape literally drowned in ice and snow, and where he was hosted for five days. Five unforgettable days for Lipsky, from which he learned an enormous amount because “… talking to him was a delightful social experience, and also a literary experience” (2010, p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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