Monday, September 22, 2008

David Foster Wallace 1962 – 2008

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


David Foster Wallace, whose darkly ironic novels, essays and short stories garnered him a large following and made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, was found dead in his California home on Friday, after apparently committing suicide, the authorities said.

Mr. Wallace, 46, best known for his sprawling 1,079-page novel “Infinite Jest,” was discovered by his wife, Karen Green, who returned home to find that he had hanged himself, a spokesman for the Claremont, Calif., police said Saturday evening.

Mr. Wallace was a professor in the English department at Pomona College in Claremont.

Mr. Wallace burst onto the literary scene in the 1990s with a style variously described as “pyrotechnic” and incomprehensible, and it was compared to those of writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo.

His opus, “Infinite Jest,” published by Little, Brown & Company in 1996, is set in the near future, in a time called the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment and is, roughly, about addiction and how the need for pleasure and entertainment can interfere with human connection.

The novel was filled with references to high and low culture alike, and at the end had more than 100 pages of footnotes, which were trademarks of Mr. Wallace’s work.

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