The David Foster Wallace Reader (Hardcover)

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What would David Foster Wallace’s legacy have become if depression hadn’t taken him from the literary world in 2008? It’s one of those impossible questions, of course, but leafing through THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER, you get a full sense of not only the magnitude of his absence, but also the breadth of work he left behind.

People often paint Wallace as a forbidding brainiac—crafter of footnotes and dense sentences—but this new compendium reminds you how limber he was, skilled with different forms and tones. Here, you’ll find the exuberant comedy of THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM, the anger of BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN, the sad humanity of OBLIVION. Then, of course, you’ll find the nonfiction: classic essays about state fairs and cruise ships, but also never-before-published syllabi from Wallace’s decades of teaching.

Finally, there’s the mind-boggling centerpiece of his career, INFINITE JEST, a novel of astonishing range and tonal complexity, of which THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER presents excerpts. Have you read it already? Relive the experience with these selections. Haven’t tackled it yet? Let these snapshots of Wallace’s masterpiece act as a primer, and let this collection as a whole acquaint you—or reacquaint you—with the work of America’s most important contemporary author.

— Ben

Description


Where do you begin with a writer as original and brilliant as David Foster Wallace? Here--with a carefully considered selection of his extraordinary body of work, chosen by a range of great writers, critics, and those who worked with him most closely. This volume presents his most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work--essays like his famous cruise-ship piece, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," excerpts from his novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King, and legendary stories like "The Depressed Person."

Wallace's explorations of morality, self-consciousness, addiction, sports, love, and the many other subjects that occupied him are represented here in both fiction and nonfiction. Collected for the first time are Wallace's first published story, "The View from Planet Trillaphon as Seen In Relation to the Bad Thing" and a selection of his work as a writing instructor, including reading lists, grammar guides, and general guidelines for his students.

A dozen writers and critics, including Hari Kunzru, Anne Fadiman, and Nam Le, add afterwords to favorite pieces, expanding our appreciation of the unique pleasures of Wallace's writing. The result is an astonishing volume that shows the breadth and range of "one of America's most daring and talented writers" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) whose work was full of humor, insight, and beauty.

About the Author


David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316182393
ISBN-10: 0316182397
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: November 11th, 2014
Pages: 976
Language: English