Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.

David Foster Wallace died earlier this month. Wallace suffered from depression for twenty years, according to his father, and committed suicide in his home September 12.

His writing is a fine balance between quirk, erudition, and humor. Weighing in at a mind-boggling 1,000+ pages, Infinite Jest is a tour de force of late twentieth century American life. Part cultural criticism and part zeitgeist, Infinite Jest has already wiggled its way into the realm of modern classics and will only grow in stature as we reflect upon life at the end of the millennium. Wallace could write short too. His essays run the gamut, from the lobster industry to sports to politics to pornography. No matter to what attention he turned his pen (or keyboard) Wallace wrote with immense intelligence, style, and bravado. Many great writers were notoriously curmudgeons, but Wallace remains well-respected by his students, colleagues, and interviewers. Joshua Ferris wrote kindly of his first meeting with David Foster Wallace.

David Foster Wallace might be gone, but he leaves an impressive and diverse body of work. Funny, witty, and sad, Wallace is worth the read and will continue to be so for generations.

Infinite Jest

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays


Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again

The Broom of the System

Girl with Curious Hair

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