David Foster Wallace Quotes

Quotes tagged as "david-foster-wallace" Showing 1-30 of 45
David Foster Wallace
“There's good self-consciousness, and then there's toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness.”
David Foster Wallace

Jonathan Franzen
“He was lovable the way a child is lovable, and he was capable of returning love with a childlike purity. If love is nevertheless excluded from his work, it's because he never quite felt that he deserved to receive it. He was a lifelong prisoner on the island of himself. What looked like gentle contours from a distance were in fact sheer cliffs. Sometimes only a little of him was crazy, sometimes nearly all of him, but, as an adult, he was never entirely not crazy. What he'd seen of his id while trying to escape his island prison by way of drugs and alcohol, only to find himself even more imprisoned by addiction, seems never to have ceased to be corrosive of his belief in his lovability. Even after he got clean, even decades after his late-adolescent suicide attempt, even after his slow and heroic construction of a life for himself, he felt undeserving. And this feeling was intertwined, ultimately to the point of indistinguishability, with the thought of suicide, which was the one sure way out of his imprisonment; surer than addiction, surer than fiction, and surer, finally, than love.”
Jonathan Franzen

David Foster Wallace
“It's not that students don't "get" Kafka's humor but that we've taught them to see humor as something you get -- the same way we've taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke -- that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It's hard to put into words up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it's good they don't "get" Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door. To envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens...and it opens outward: we've been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.”
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

David Foster Wallace
“Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody's ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.”
David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

David Foster Wallace
“It's all very confusing. I think I'm very honest and candid, but I'm also proud of how honest and candid I am -- so where does that put me?”
David Foster Wallace

Robert Hughes
“What has our culture lost in 1980 that the avant-garde had in 1890? Ebullience, idealism, confidence, the belief that there was plenty of territory to explore, and above all the sense that art, in the most disinterested and noble way, could find the necessary metaphors by which a radically changing culture could be explained to its inhabitants.”
Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

David Foster Wallace
“The job of the first eight pages is not to have the reader want to throw the book at the wall, during the first eight pages.”
David Foster Wallace

David Lipsky
“David Foster Wallace: Because I'd like to be the sort of person who can enjoy things at the time instead of having to go back in my head and enjoy them then.”
David Lipsky, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“In a way, what Tarantino has done with the French New Wave and with David Lynch is what Pat Boone did with rhythm and blues: He's found (ingeniously) a way to take what is ragged and distinctive and menacing about their work and homogenize it, churn it until it's smooth and cool and hygienic enough for mass consumption. Reservoir Dogs, for example, with its comically banal lunch chatter, creepily otiose code names, and intrusive soundtrack of campy pop from decades past, is a Lynch movie made commercial, i.e., fast, linear, and with what was idiosyncratically surreal now made fashionably (i.e., "hiply") surreal [...] D. Lynch is an exponentially better filmmaker than Q. Tarantino. For, unlike Tarantino, D. Lynch knows that an act of violence in an American film has, through repetition and desensitization, lost the ability to refer to anything but itself. A better way to put what I just tried to say: Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody's ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.”
David Foster Wallace

Jonathan Franzen
“We who were not so pathologically far out on the spectrum of self-involvement, we dwellers of the visible spectrum who could imagine how it felt to go beyond violet but were not ourselves beyond it, could see that David was wrong not to believe in his lovability and could imagine the pain of not believing in it. How easy and natural love is if you are well! And how gruesomely difficult--what a philosophically daunting contraption of self-interest and self-delusion love appears to be--if you are not! And yet ... the difference between well and not well is in more respects a difference of degree than of kind. Even though David laughed at my much milder addictions and liked to tell me that I couldn't even conceive of how moderate I was, I can still extrapolate from these addictions, and from the secretiveness and solipsism and radical isolation and raw animal craving that accompany them, to the extremity of his. I can imagine the sick mental pathways by which suicide comes to seem like the one consciousness-quenching substance that nobody can take away from you.”
Jonathan Franzen

Garth Risk Hallberg
Infinite Jest not only says that being human is hard work; it makes us work hard. It not only suggests we put ourselves in service to something larger than ourselves; it is one of those larger somethings. That's its rhetorical genius, and is how Wallace gets his self-help “to fly at such a high altitude”: Like AA, it is theory and praxis in a single stroke. Or: It is what it says, which may be the purest form of art.”
Garth Risk Hallberg

David Foster Wallace
“....there is an ending [to Infinite Jest] as far as I'm concerned. Certain kind of parallel lines are supposed to start converging in such a way that an "end" can be projected by the reader somewhere beyond the right frame. If no such convergence or projection occured to you, then the book's failed for you.”
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“(She) says that she's finding it especially hard to take when these earnest ravaged folks at the lectern say they're `Here But For the Grace of God,' except that's not the strange thing she says, because when Gately nods hard and starts to interject about `It was the same for--' and wants to launch into a fairly standard Boston AA agnostic-soothing riff about the `God' in the slogan being just shorthand for a totally subjective and up-to-you `Higher Power' and AA being merely spiritual instead of dogmatically religious, a sort of benign anarchy of subjective spirit, Joelle cuts off his interjection and says that but that her trouble with it is that `But For the Grace of God' is a subjunctive, a counterfactual, she says, and can make sense only when introducing a conditional clause, like e.g. `But For the Grace of God I would have died on Molly Notkin's bathroom floor,' so that an indicative transposition like `I'm here But For the Grace of God' is, she says, literally senseless, and regardless of whether she hears it or not it's meaningless, and that the foamy enthusiasm with which these folks can say what in fact means nothing at all makes her want to put her head in a Radarange at the thought that Substances have brought her to the sort of pass where this is the sort of language she has to have Blind Faith in.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace
“I'm not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose the Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.”
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“I think, today’s irony ends up saying: "How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.”
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“(Where do they get these giant flags? What happens to them when there's no campaign? Where do they go? Where do you even store flags that size? Or is there maybe just one, which McCain2000's advance team has to take down afterward and hurtle with to the next THM to get it put up before McCain and the cameras arrive? Do Gore and the Shrub and all the other candidates each have their own giant flag?)”
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

David Foster Wallace
“…95 percent of political commentary, whether spoken or written, is now polluted by the very politics it’s supposed to be about. Meaning it’s become totally ideological and reductive: The writer/speaker has certain political convictions or affiliations, and proceeds to filter all reality and spin all assertion according to those convictions and loyalties. Everybody’s pissed off and exasperated and impervious to argument from any other side. Opposing viewpoints are not just incorrect but contemptible, corrupt, evil […] Political discourse is now a formulaic matter of preaching to one’s own choir and demonizing the opposition. Everything’s relentlessly black-and-whitened…. Since the truth is way, way more gray and complicated than any one ideology can capture, the whole thing seems to me not just stupid but stupefying… How can any of this possibly help me, the average citizen, deliberate about whom to choose to decide my country’s macroeconomic policy, or how even to conceive for myself what that policy’s outlines should be, or how to minimize the chances of North Korea nuking the DMZ and pulling us into a ghastly foreign war, or how to balance domestic security concerns with civil liberties? Questions like these are all massively complicated, and much of the complication is not sexy, and well over 90 percent of political commentary now simply abets the uncomplicatedly sexy delusion that one side is Right and Just and the other Wrong and Dangerous. Which is of course a pleasant delusion, in a way—as is the belief that every last person you’re in conflict with is an asshole—but it’s childish, and totally unconducive to hard thought, give and take, compromise, or the ability of grown-ups to function as any kind of community.”
David Foster Wallace, David Foster Wallace: The Interview

David Foster Wallace
“Julie ha detto a Faye che lei è convinta che due persone innamorate attraversino tre fasi distinte prima di arrivare a conoscersi davvero. All'inizio si raccontano aneddoti e gusti personali. Poi ciascuno dei due dice all'altro in che cosa crede. E poi ciascuno osserva la relazione che c'è fra quello in cui l'altro ha detto di credere e quello che in effetti fa.”
David Foster Wallace, Girl with Curious Hair

David Lipsky
“He had finished and collected the three years of drafts [of Infinite Jest], and finally sat down and typed the whole thing. Wallace didn't really type; he input the giant thing twice, with one finger. "But a really fast finger.”
David Lipsky

David Lipsky
“David [Foster Wallace] is a Cosmopolitan subscriber; he says reading 'I've Cheated - Should I Tell?' a bunch of times a year is 'fundamentally soothing to the nervous system.”
David Lipsky (Author)

David Foster Wallace
“The fact is that we're all lonely, of course. Everyone knows this, it's almost a cliché. So yet another layer of my essential fraudulence is that I pretended to myself that my loneliness was special, that is was uniquely my fault because I was somehow especially fraudulent and hollow.”
David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

David Lipsky
“Yeah, there’s stuff that really good fiction can do that other forms of art can’t do as well. And the big thing, the big thing seems to be, sort of leapin’ over that wall of self, and portraying inner experience. And setting up, I think, a kind of intimate conversation between two consciences.”
David Lipsky, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of the part of yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved.”
David Foster Wallace, Conversations with David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“Supongo que ser tímido significa básicamente estar absorbido por uno mismo hasta el punto de que se hace difícil estar rodeado de otras personas”
David Foster Wallace, Conversations with David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
“That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That it is possible to get so angry you really do see everything red. What a ‘Texas Catheter’ is. That some people really do steal—will steal things that are yours. That a lot of U.S. adults truly cannot read, not even a ROM hypertext phonics thing with HELP functions for every word. That cliquey alliance and exclusion and gossip can be forms of escape. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That evil people never believe they are evil, but rather that everyone else is evil. That it is possible to learn valuable things from a stupid person. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That you can all of a sudden out of nowhere want to get high with your Substance so bad that you think you will surely die if you don’t, and but can just sit there with your hands writhing in your lap and face wet with craving, can want to get high but instead just sit there, wanting to but not, if that makes sense, and if you can gut it out and not hit the Substance during the craving the craving will eventually pass, it will go away — at least for a while. That it is statistically easier for low‐IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high‐IQ people.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace
“That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That it is possible to get so angry you really do see everything red. What a ‘Texas Catheter’ is. That some people really do steal—will steal things that are yours. That a lot of U.S. adults truly cannot read, not even a ROM hypertext phonics thing with HELP functions for every word. That cliquey alliance and exclusion and gossip can be forms of escape. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That evil people never believe they are evil, but rather that everyone else is evil. That it is possible to learn valuable things from a stupid person. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That you can all of a sudden out of nowhere want to get high with your Substance so bad that you think you will surely die if you don’t, and but can just sit there with your hands writhing in your lap and face wet with craving, can want to get high but instead just sit there, wanting to but not, if that makes sense, and if you can gut it out and not hit the Substance during the craving the craving will eventually pass, it will go away—at least for a while. That it is statistically easier for low‐IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high‐IQ people.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace
“Nel momento in cui riconosceva quello che c'era su una cartuccia provava la sensazione carica d'ansia che ci fosse qualcosa di meglio su un'altra cartuccia e che potenzialmente se lo stava perdendo. Poi si rese conto che avrebbe avuto tutto il tempo di godersi ogni cartuccia e capì intellettualmente che non aveva senso provare il panico di perdersi qualcosa.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace
“And although I played along with him for a while so as not to prick his bubble, inside I felt pretty bleak indeed, because now I knew that he was going to be just as pliable and credulous as everyone else, he didn't appear to have anything close to the firepower I'd need to give me any hope of getting helped out of the trap of fraudulence and unhappiness I'd constructed for myself.”
David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

David Foster Wallace
“Note the way "up close and personal" profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life–outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what's obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It's farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child's world, is very small.”
David Foster Wallace

Jean Baudrillard
“Before me a scholarly man, of European culture, head of a literary department in one of the great universities of the West. He speaks of it with bitterness, as do almost all his colleagues. Culture is not what it was and he has not the slightest regard for mass culture. He comes from New York and, deep down, he despises California, his colleagues and the decline of standards. He gets 60-80,000 dollars a year and does not have many students or friends. He has lots of ideas, is sincere, proud and awkward. His secret is his python. I see him plunge his gloved hand into its glass case and stroke the reptile's head, which shoots out a voracious tongue and uncoils itself, still famished though it has just devoured a rat. We discuss the diet of snakes. A tortoise slumbers by the fireside in the glow of an artificial wood fire. It is Sunday in Santa Monica. Towards four, the sun drives away the mists of the Pacific. But the snake knows neither night nor day; he is immortal and poisonous and, in the words of the poet, he dreams on the hills of the sky. Which is something his master does not do, he whose reptilian brain identifies with the snake's, and who stares long and hard into his face, even though ordinarily he is incapable of looking people straight in the eye. A perverse couple, the somnambulism of the intellectual mingling with the inner night of the reptile.”
Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories

« previous 1