Wallace, David Foster

Wallace, David Foster,

1962–2008, American writer, b. Ithaca, N.Y., grad. Amherst College (B.A., 1985), Univ. of Arizona (M.F.A., 1987). He published his comic first novel, The Broom of the System (1987), to excellent reviews, but it was his next (and last complete) novel, Infinite Jest (1996), that brought him wide notice, literary acclaim, and a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" (1997). A vast, exuberant, and complicated work in the tradition of PynchonPynchon, Thomas
, 1937–, American novelist, b. Glen Cove, N.Y., grad. Cornell, 1958. Pynchon is noted for his amazingly fertile imagination, his wild sense of humor, and the teeming complexity of his novels.
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 and DeLilloDeLillo, Don
, 1936–, American novelist, b. New York City, grad. Fordham (1958). DeLillo is an accomplished prose stylist with a dark vision and mordant wit. In a steady stream of novels beginning with Americana
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 that is both funny and sad, serious and ironic, it portrays a fractured contemporary American society obsessed with entertainment and pleasure. Wallace also wrote short stories, such as those in Girl with Curious Hair (1989) and Oblivion (2004); essays, such as those in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997), Consider the Lobster (2005), and the posthumously published Both Flesh and Not (2012); and nonfiction, such as Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (2003). He taught writing at Illinois State Univ. and Pomona College. Severely depressed at various times during his life, he committed suicide at 46. The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel (2011), with several completed chapters and selections from his working materials, is an elegiac and despairing, yet often hilarious work, filled with digressions and asides but mainly about a Midwestern IRS office, boredom, and the complexities and bureaucracies of American life.


See David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview and Other Conversations (2012) and S. J. Burn, ed., Conversations with David Foster Wallace (2012); D. Lipsky, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace (2010); biography by D. T. Max (2012); studies by M. Boswell (2003) and S. Burn (2003); S. Cohen and L. Konstantinou, ed., The Legacy of David Foster Wallace (2012).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Wallace, David Foster. "Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young." Contemporary Review of Fiction (Fall 1988): 1-15.
(1) Wallace, David Foster. Both Flesh and Not: Essays (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012), 215.
Wallace, David Foster. Conversations with David Foster Wallace.
Wallace, David Foster. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
Wallace, David Foster. "An Interview with David Foster Wallace." By Larry McCaffery.