Image: Flickr, Steve Rhodes
To know David Foster Wallace (for the most part) is to love David Foster Wallace, if not for his being the bearer of truths, at least for his persistence (and excessive perspiration). You may recognize his name just from that one famous New York Times article on Roger Federer. On the other hand, you may be such a superfan that you’ve actually seen the film adaptation of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (starring John Krasinski and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard). God forgive you if you’ve experienced the latter, but I suppose that’s commendable dedication.
Daniel Roberts, in an essay for berfrois entitled The Depressed Person in The Marriage Plot, wrote that there is “this thing that happens to people who read David Foster Wallace. . . those who like his work don’t just champion the writing, but seem to become personally enamored of the man.” And these words resonate for us strange DFW enthusiasts.
Today he would have been 50 years old, if not for his untimely death. I know I’m not the only one thinking about him; it seems I’m the very last one thinking about him, in fact. After just a few minutes’ perusal on Twitter, I came across hundreds of rememberance tweets and links. Here is a short round-up of the #DFW stuff I came across and liked:
From CTState Library (@LibraryofCT): “I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘The library, and step on it!'” -DFW
From The Awl: 46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday (the most comprehensive list, covers everything from DFW’s childhood, to Michael Pietsch’s letter to Wallace about editing Infinite Jest, to D.T. Max’s famous New Yorker profile of the writer).
From The NY Daily News: David Foster Wallace at 50: Why he still matters and will always win, by Alexander Nazaryan
From the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin: Press Release for the Archive of Writer David Foster Wallace Now Open for Research
From GothamWriters Wrkshp (@gothamwriters): “I just think fiction that isn’t exploring what it means to be human today isn’t art.” -DFW
From The Point: Coming To Terms: Franzen, Wallace and the Question of Realism
From the Columbia University Press blog: Knock Yourself Out, an essay by Matt Bucher
From Esquire: Incarnations of Burned Children, short fiction by David Foster Wallace
From Rolling Stone: The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And the Shrub: Seven days in the life of the late, great John McCain, an essay by David Foster Wallace
From Harper’s Magazine: David Foster Wallace archive
Jessica Carroll is the Toronto Standard’s editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter at @jssckr.