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David Foster Wallace: Dead At 46

abstract:David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1,000 plus page 1996 novel Infinite Jest was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Friday night, according to police. He was 46. Sadly, this ends his long battle with depression, in which his father says, "Everything had been tried." Michiko Kakutani, chief book critic of The New York Times wrote in 2006. “He can do sad, funny, silly, heartbreaking and absurd with equal ease; he can even do them all at once.” David has been called one of America's most important young authors and is often compared to Thomas Pynchon. Of course the best way to know an author is through their books, but if you haven't taken the opportunity yet, there are ample places to read and "meet" him. My most illuminating moment of Wallace was in his television interview with Charlie Rose, taped in March of 1997. His brilliance and vulnerability, his modesty and honesty were all mixed up in a somewhat defiant, verbosity that bordered on pressure of speech in places where his thoughts were coming faster than he could form the words. Here is a small tribute to David Foster Wallace with some links for further reading and viewing.


September 17, 2008
— &creative

Biography: 1962-2008

"Mr. Wallace was born in Ithaca, N.Y., where his father was a graduate student in philosophy. When David was 6 months old, his father got a job at the University of Illinois, and the family moved to Champaign, Ill., where David became a locally prominent junior tennis player. At Amherst College, he studied philosophy and English, graduating summa cum laude in 1985. It was also at Amherst, said his mother, Sally Foster Wallace, an English teacher who specialized in grammar, that he began to write. One of his two senior theses became “The Broom of the System”; the other was about Aristotle and whether statements about the future can be true.

Mr. Wallace received a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Arizona in 1987 and began sending out his short stories, many of them collected in the volumes “Girl With Curious Hair,” “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” and “Oblivion.” He also wrote essays and reported pieces on an astonishing array of topics, from lobsters to Roger Federer, the pornography industry to John McCain, collected in several volumes, the latest being “Consider the Lobster and Other Essays” (Little, Brown, 2006).

In addition to his wife, whom he married in 2004, and his parents, who live in Urbana, Ill., Mr. Wallace is survived by a sister, Amy Wallace Havens of Tucson.

His father said Sunday that Mr. Wallace had been taking medication for depression for 20 years and that it had allowed his son to be productive. It was something the writer didn’t discuss, though in interviews he gave a hint of his haunting angst.

In response to a question about what being an American was like for him at the end of the 20th century, he told the online magazine Salon in 1996 that there was something sad about it, but not as a reaction to the news or current events. “It’s more like a stomach-level sadness,” he said. “I see it in myself and my friends in different ways. It manifests itself as a kind of lostness.” —Excerpt from NYTimes piece by Bruce Weber, Sept 14th, 2008.


U Tube - Harpers Magazine 150 Anniversary: "Baton Twirlers" A Reading
New York Times Obituary
Harper's Magazine is apparently posting articles he wrote for them free.




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