Bruce's Reviews > Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy

Gesturing Toward Reality by Robert K. Bolger
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's review
Jul 16, 2014

it was amazing

My head is about to explode with all that I learned from this book.

This amazing collection of essays on the philosophy of David Foster Wallace provides insights to David's thinking and writing which I had not seen before, and I've read a lot of DFW and DFW analysis. I learned that David was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer, which I had suspected but did not know, and I certainly didn't know the extent of the influence.

And while it is well-known that David admired Wittgenstein, it is less well-known (or was to me) that David actually misinterpreted Wittgenstein with regard to what language can do. This made me realize that, when God created the universe, the first law he put in place is that "everyone misunderstands some aspect(s) of Wittgenstein," with the second law being, of course, E=m*c*c.

I also have a much better understanding of how David fit into the "new sincerity" movement and what the real aims of that movement have been.

What amazed and pleased me the most was that every essay was presented in a way that I could actually understand it, and didn't have to go out and get a philosophy degree to do so. The writing, by every contributor, is really well-done.

I'll be reading through this one again.
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Finished Reading
July 16, 2014 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jack (new)

Jack Waters I'm very much looking forward to reading this, once time/money permits. Thanks for the review, Bruce.

message 2: by Garrett (new) - added it

Garrett Peace ^ Ditto. I'm working my way - slowly - through IJ again with my girlfriend (her first time), and I'm dipping in and out of The Pale King for the wallace-l group-read. (Yes, there is some intriguing dissonance going on in reading the two at the same time.) I'm hoping to get to this one when I'm done, as it seems like one of the most interesting critical books to come out so far re: Wallace.

Bruce Neat. Not sure when I'll read IJ for the second time, as I really need to knuckle down and do a second edition of my book (much to add to the first edition). The thing that Wallace-l has going on with TPK is great. Wish I had time to participate in it, too, as a second read of TPK would be great for me, but there is only so much time.

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