‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

R.I.P. – David Foster Wallace

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David Foster Wallace is an American writer, artist, culture critic/junkie. If you’re wanting comparisons, let’s put him alongside of J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon. He has only written two novels and a few short story collections. He received the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant at the age of 35, a brilliant essayist, accomplished tennis player, and professor at Pomona College, in Claremont Califnornia. His book Infinite Jest was a Times Magazine 100 Best English Speaking Novel.

On September 12, 2008 D.F.W. was found dead at the age of 46 as a result of a suicide hanging.

I’m quite torn and depressed by this news. To lose such brilliance in such a way, is something that will never cease to shock and disturb me. I will never know what causes an individual to give up on themselves and those around them, and I hope to never know this.

In honor of Mr. Wallace, I’ve posted a few links to some of the essays and writings he has scattered around the net. I urge you to take the time and enjoy a few of his works in his remembrance.

Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage

Reprint of Consider the Lobster, 2004 essay on lobsters for Gourmet magazine

New York Times “Play Magazine” article on Roger Federer, “Federer as Religious Experience”

Commencement speech at Kenyon College, May 21, 2005 (excerpt)

This American Life Episode 160 broadcast May 19, 2000 “Character Assassination” Act 2 ‘Sonny Takes a Fall,’ 19 minute radio where David Foster Wallace “reports on a turning point in 2000‘s Presidential primaries: the moment when John McCain failed to respond well to an attack by George Bush“. Description of broadcast from thislife.org

Charlie Rose Show: An interview with Wallace following the publication of Infinite Jest and A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Charlie Rose Show: A roundtable discussion on fiction with Wallace, Jonathan Franzen and Mark Leyner

The Writer’s Almanac highlights Wallace on the February 21, 2007 broadcast.

And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down. All U.S. irony is based on an implicit “I don’t really mean what I’m saying.” So what does irony as a cultural norm mean to say? That it’s impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it’s too bad it’s impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.”

  • E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction
  • Written by thebeliever07

    September 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm

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