Tuesday, January 27, 2009

David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008)

David Foster Wallace was born in 1962 in Ithaca, New York, and majored in English and philosophy. His first novel, The Broom of the System (1987), garnered national attention and critical acclaim. He moved to Boston to pursue degree studies in philosophy at Harvard University but he later abandoned them. His most successful novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. After that, he published some short stories and non-fiction (for example Girls with Curious Hair, in 1989, and Oblivion: Stories, in 2004). Wallace, who suffered from depression, committed suicide in September 2008. During the memorial service held after his death, many people spoke about him, including authors Don DeLillo, Zadie Smith and George Saunders.
His fiction is often concerned with irony and combines various writing modes or voices, and incorporate jargon and vocabulary (sometimes invented) from a wide variety of fields. His writing featured self-generated abbreviations and acronyms, long multi-clause sentences, and a notable use of explanatory footnotes and endnotes — often nearly as expansive as the text proper.

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