I’ve been mulling over the reported suicide of David Foster Wallace. The news hit me harder than I would have thought possible.
His writing has always been hugely important to me, and Infinite Jest is central to the whole conception of my dissertation. I only began to think of irony as something that had a specifically literary history after reading his fiction and essays, way back when. When you’ve read so much of another person’s writing, especially someone with such a characteristic style, you begin to feel as if you’ve really gotten to know him personally, however illusory that feeling may be.
I’ve been rereading a lot of his essays and interviews and am working up a short piece about his life and the significance of his writing for a new culture and politics group blog, Plasma Pool (which is still not fully rolled out yet). I’ll also be assigning his seminal essay, “E Unibus Pluram,” for a class I’ll be teaching starting next week, and was also considering assigning his essay on John McCain’s 2000 campaign, though that might be too much DFW for one class.
I’ll link to my response/memorial when it’s written and live.