Friday night, the world lost writer David Foster Wallace who hanged himself in his Claremont, California home. The author of the genre-changing Infinite Jest also penned some of the best magazine pieces written in the past 10 years, including his Ellie-winning feature on John McCain and his article about tennis player Rodger Federer.
In a Swampland obituary, Michael Scherer offers the following praise:
For a decade at least, he has been one of our nation’s greatest ongoing innovators of narrative journalism, of the magazine story, and a rightful heir to the golden age writers of old.
The obituaries have flooded the media world, but for our money, David Gates’ column in Newsweek offers the most complete view of the Foster Wallace reality (although Laura Miller’s piece in Salon is worth reading, as is her interview with the author after the publication of Infinite Jest.)
Some memories and quotes after the jump.
Harper’s made its entire DFW archive available.
From Miller’s interview:
What do you think is uniquely magical about fiction?
Oh, Lordy, that could take a whole day! Well, the first line of attack for that question is that there is this existential loneliness in the real world. I don’t know what you’re thinking or what it’s like inside you and you don’t know what it’s like inside me. In fiction I think we can leap over that wall itself in a certain way.
From Scherer’s piece: “For the most selfish reasons, I mourn his passing. I want to read what he would write next.”
From NPR: “After reading Wallace, I feel buzzed-up, smarter — I’m better company.”
From his 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College: “I wish you way more than luck.”