David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.

I was shocked and saddened to hear of author David Foster Wallace’s apparent death by suicide this weekend. In my opinion, Wallace was one of our few contemporary writers whose work will stand the test of time to be read and studied fifty or a hundred years from now.

His famous 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College is a great introduction to his extraordinarily powerful and thoughtful prose voice (warning: bad language!). And in this political season, his 2000 Rolling Stone piece about John McCain merits your attention (warning: really bad language!), although it’s not very nice. There’s a brief, sweet summary of his work here.

Wallace suffered from depression for many years. If you’re reading this and you empathize, please take a look at this.


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4 thoughts on “David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.

  • September 15, 2008 at 5:20 pm
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    Wallace wrote an astonishingly good profile of tennis player Michael Joyce for Equire in 1996 that is just required reading. Period. I couldn’t find it online, but then I only looked for about 60 seconds before getting bored. It’s in the essay collection “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” and I’ll be reading it again in Wallace’s honor.
    D.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm
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    Some of Wallace’s best work is on tennis. The first thing I ever read by him was his “Tennis, Trigonometry, and Tornadoes: A Midwestern Boyhood.” I remember stopping in the middle and looping back to the very beginning, just being astonished and savoring what an incredible piece of writing it was.

    http://www.harpers.org/media/pdf/dfw/HarpersMagazine-1991-12-0000710.pdf

    See also, more recently,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

    Reply
  • September 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm
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    So does anyone else besides you and me read this blog, or is it just destined to be us talking to each other? That’s even more depressing than this “famous author commits suicide” post.
    D.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2008 at 11:03 pm
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    I read it. Cry baby.

    Reply

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