David Foster Wallace, R.I.P.


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David Foster Wallace, the author of ‘Infinite Jest,’ was found dead in his home in Claremont on Friday night. The 46-year-old author apparently committed suicide.

In 1996, Wallace talked to the online magazine Stim about the recently published ‘Infinite Jest.’


[My] secret pretension ... I mean, every writer wants his book to change the world, but I guess I would like to know if the book moved people. I assume that the future the book talks about, while it might be amusing, wouldn’t be a fun future to live in. I think it would be nice if the book could maybe make people think about some of the choices we are making, about what we pay attention to and give power to, so maybe the future won’t be quite that ... glittery. but cold.... Fiction used to be people’s magic carpet to other places.... You know, ‘’Oh, a really boring formulaic story but it takes place in Tibet.’’ But now you turn on PBS and watch someone milking a yak.... Which means that one of fiction’s fundamental jobs has been supplanted. But it has another one now. TV’s illusion of access to other cultures is, in fact, an illusion. TV itself cannot comment on that.

David Foster Wallace was a recipient of a MacArthur ‘genuis’ grant in 1997. He was teaching creative writing at Pomona College. He will be missed.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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