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The Legacy of David Foster Wallace

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Considered by many to be the greatest writer of his generation, David Foster Wallace was at the height of his creative powers when he committed suicide in 2008. In a sweeping portrait of Wallace’s writing and thought and as a measure of his importance in literary history, The Legacy of David Foster Wallace gathers cutting-edge, field-defining scholarship by critics alongsi ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published April 15th 2012 by University Of Iowa Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Adam
This is, by far, the best book on DFW published so far.

Included are essays on DFW's relationship to and place in American literature's history, on the history and context of Infinite Jest, an absolutely wonderful explication of DFW's role as a 'postironist' (this one stands out as representative of the book's overall quality; it is concise and to-the-point and almost never academically bullshitty, but still critically strong and intelligent). Further essays include one on "the afterlife of rece
...more
GONZA
Such a great book, a big insight in DFW life and writing. I hope to read everything he has written even if so far I didn't accomplish this mission, but still he is absolutely one of my favorite writers of all the times, and in this book I even got the reason why he is so universally loved and appreciated even if he's not easy at all. Memorials by Franzen and De Lillo, introduction to the 10th edition of Infinite Jest by Eggers, all stuff I wouldn't have read here in Italy....
THANKS SOO MUCH TO N
...more
Devin Wallace
A rather detailed and insightful overview of the life and work of David Foster Wallace, no doubt a genius who left the Earth far too early, although not early enough to prevent scholars from looking over the work. While the academic language may be off-putting to some, the longer pieces are broken up by a few pages of remembrances from his memorial service in October of 2008, by people like Don DeLillo and Jonathan Franzen.

Wallace is analyzed from all angles in three parts: History, in which Wa
...more
Konrad Swartz
Placing eulogy & interview with literary criticism to cover many things David Foster Wallace. Though probably not essential for even the most devoted & voracious DFW fans (most of the arguments in the crit. lit. articles are obvious enough, assume you know your Dave & his concerns), the collection is good reading. Notables: Josh Roiland's "Getting Away From It All", Lee Konstantinou's "No Bull", & Kathleen Fitzpatrick's "Infinite Summer". Included eulogies by Saunders, DeLillo, F ...more
Andrew Bertaina
This is a much better analysis of his writing than the earlier work, "Consider David Foster Wallace." The essays in here are chosen well, and sprinkled with remembrances from some of his friends, Saunders, DeLillo, Moody, Franzen from his memorial service, which serve a nice function of breaking up the text. The essays largely concern "Infinite Jest" as is appropriate given its status as the most interesting piece of uniquely American fiction written since Gravity's Rainbow. They range from read ...more
Zach
Anecdotes and interviews are worth the price of admission. Scholarly works remind me why I was glad to be done with scholarly writing after finishing my MA.
Jennifer
This is the first literary criticism I've ever read outside a school assignment. I enjoyed most of it quite a bit, but feel somewhat abashed at joining the ranks of the "fans" of someone so uncomfortable with being a celebrity. Foster's writing style is such that you end up feeling like you know him even more so than with most authors, so it was very interesting to read about him and his work from so many who actually did. Even more than after reading IJ, I am left with a deep sadness about what ...more
William
good exercise in analysis, most essays were positive if not overwhelmingly so & the smattering of informal remarks were welcome buffers between the 20-page essays on dfw's style & effect on the (literary) world. nadel's essay on footnotes was particularly enjoyable.
Josh
Actually the content is maybe nearer a 4 but the more academic essays included kinda dry things up. I can empathize with the academics too though: writing papers on Wallace that rely on endnotes is an unfair task to begin with.

That said, I sincerely support the dedication to canonizing Wallace. The formal submissions all had something interesting to contribute and the writers' reminiscences of Wallace were uniformly moving. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone other than serious DFW fans but I'm
...more
Patricia L.
This is a book that you might read if you were taking a course in English Literature. It is not the David Foster Wallace's essence that I delight in. Sure I love the way he uses footnotes but it does not celebrate, it comments from a distant perspective. Perhaps this is what objectivity is all about, but it is not what DFW's legacy is.
Ian
Overall a good collection of essays. Really shed some light for me on David, and some of the struggles he went through in his life. Some sections you should straight skip, and scanning others is recommended. Nothing that crazy in here, but a bunch of deep themes I missed really got some light shed on them in this book.
Mahalo!
Bob
Jul 09, 2012 Bob rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bob by: Margaret Bjoring
The editor's purpose was to get people to read more David Foster Wallace, and it worked for me. Personally interesting were Molly Schwartzburg's account of cataloging and using the DFW papers at UT's Ransom Center and Josh Roiland's survey of his journalistic pieces.
emma p
some of these were so Academic (bad) some were just dumb but some really Get It i think!! esp jonathan franzen's which made me cry and the infinite summer one which i think dfw would have approved of. anyway i cried a lot reading this book so i guess it's pretty good.
Heidi Noonan
Bearing in mind that I'm +10 years past my last reading of literary criticism I nonetheless found this collection mostly interesting and not super tedious. I even looked forward to reading it most nights!
Björn
If you are not afraid of reading academic writing, this book offers some interesting points for everyone who is interested in the life and work of David Foster Wallace.
John
there are some excellent contributions here, most notably Lee Konstantinou's chapter.
Lee
Apr 10, 2012 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: co-edited
Yes, I co-edited and contributed to the book, but it's actually pretty good.
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