David Foster Wallace

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David Foster Wallace

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in Ithaca, New York, The United States
February 21, 1962

September 12, 2008





About this author

David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it feels like to live." Readers curled up in the nooks and clearings of his style: his comedy, his brilliance, his humaneness.

His life was a map that ends at the wrong destination. Wallace was an A student through high school, he played football, he played tennis, he wrote a philosophy thesis and a novel before he graduated from Amherst, he went to writ

Average rating: 4.14 · 146,288 ratings · 15,008 reviews · 65 distinct works · Similar authors
Infinite Jest
4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 35,566 ratings — published 1996 — 51 editions
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Consider the Lobster and Ot...
4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 19,771 ratings — published 2005 — 23 editions
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A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll...
4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 17,909 ratings — published 1996 — 20 editions
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Brief Interviews with Hideo...
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 13,620 ratings — published 1997 — 41 editions
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This Is Water: Some Thought...
4.53 of 5 stars 4.53 avg rating — 8,734 ratings — published 2009 — 25 editions
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The Broom of the System
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 10,371 ratings — published 1987 — 31 editions
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The Pale King
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 8,167 ratings — published 2011 — 36 editions
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 7,221 ratings — published 2004 — 36 editions
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Girl with Curious Hair
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 7,112 ratings — published 1988 — 33 editions
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Both Flesh and Not: Essays
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 2,358 ratings — published 2012 — 25 editions
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More books by David Foster Wallace…
“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

“I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
David Foster Wallace


What represents the late David Foster Wallace's best work?

Novels (The Broom of the System & Infinite Jest)
  191 votes, 63.5%

Journalism (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again & Consider the Lobster)
  54 votes, 17.9%

Short Stories
  36 votes, 12.0%

His book on infinity (Everything and More)
  20 votes, 6.6%

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