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Literary Criticism Obituaries

Remembrances of David Foster Wallace

The Scout Report, a fine weekly newsletter from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, offers this roundup of stories about the recent death of author David Foster Wallace:

Friends and colleagues remember author David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46 [Free registration may be required]
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/books/15wallace.html

Wallace Invented ‘New Style, New Comedy’
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94629055

Author created ‘Jest’ in Syracuse
http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf?/base/news-15/122155534751021.xml&coll=1

In Memoriam: David Foster Wallace [pdf]
http://www.pomona.edu/ADWR/president/dfw1.shtml

Considering David Foster Wallace [iTunes]
http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/pc/pc080916considering_david_fo

David Foster Wallace: Harper’s Magazine [pdf]
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/09/hbc-90003557

David Foster Wallace: Commencement Speech at Kenyon College
http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

Friends, acquaintances, fellow writers, and others all offered memories of author David Foster Wallace this week in articles, online treatises, weblog posts, and editorials. Wallace, who was perhaps best known for this sprawling masterwork “Infinite Jest”, was thoroughly catholic in his interests, and his work was peppered with references to everything from Continental philosophy to the behavior of cruise line passengers. Writing in this Tuesday’s New York Times, fellow writer Verlyn Klinkenborg commented, “His writing could subsume the DNA of any language, any form it encountered, while remaining completely his own.” During his 46 years, Wallace was awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”, and also taught at Illinois State University and Pomona College. While many websites offer a way to comment on Wallace’s work and life, the “In Memoriam” site created by Pomona College provides a fine glimpse into the effect he had on those he taught and influenced. One comment offered by Sean Pollack is particularly poignant: “We mourn for a humane and generous teacher and lover of the language.” [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to the New York Times’ obituary for David Foster Wallace which appeared in print this Monday. The second link will lead visitors to a remembrance of Wallace from fellow writer David Lipsky. Moving on, the third link leads to a Syracuse Post-Standard piece from this Tuesday about Wallace’s time in Syracuse in the early 1990s. The fourth link leads to the previously mentioned Pomona College “In Memoriam” site created for Wallace. The fifth link leads to a special edition of “Politics of Culture” hosted by bookworm Michael Silverblatt. Joined by book critic Anthony Miller they discuss Wallace’s impact on fiction, his generation, and American culture. In addition, a collection of interviews with Wallace culled from the archives of KCRW’s “Bookworm” program is also available. In terms of celebrating Wallace’s life and writing, the sixth link is a very welcome find indeed. It contains links to many of his non-fiction pieces, including his very observant and wonderful take on a cruise-line adventure, “Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise”. The last and final link leads to a transcript of the honest and insightful commencement address that Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005. [KMG]

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2008. http://scout.wisc.edu/