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David Foster Wallace on writing, writers, audience:

August 6, 2009

“Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?”


“Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.”


“…all the attention and engagement and work you need to get from the reader can’t be for your benefit, it’s got to be for hers.”


[“The Unfinished: David Foster Wallace’s struggle to surpass ‘Infinite Jest.’ D. T. Max. The New Yorker. March 9, 2009.]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2009 12:36 pm

    You can read “The Unfinished – David Foster Wallace’s struggle to surpass ‘Infinite Jest'” here.

    You can read a Q&A with the author, D.T. Max, on the New Yorker blog here. There’s some interesting exchange about writers and depression.

  2. Marc permalink
    August 8, 2009 11:06 am

    Infinite Jest is on my to-read list – has been for a while. Have read two books of essays and a handful of stories and I’m always struck by what an exceptional observer he was – wasn’t afraid to riff pedantic either, but never in a way that felt off putting or opaque (well, maybe a little opaque, but never dry). The layers of detail in his essays are stunning. He goes diving into these curious little pools of cultural phenomena, bringing everything to life in what amounts to the literary equivalent of hi def. After he died, I was surprised to read that those who knew him understood that it was never a matter of if he might hurt himself, but when. Must be devastating, living day to day with such a prospect. Crushing. I read the excerpt of the unfinished work published in the New Yorker a while back. Loved it. And worked as a short story too, I thought. I’ll have to check out the link to the entire work some time.

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