Colin McEnroe Show: The Life & Legacy Of David Foster Wallace

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Colin McEnroe Show: The Life & Legacy Of David Foster Wallace
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Colin McEnroe Show: The Life & Legacy Of David Foster Wallace

Why are we doing a show about David Foster Wallace?

It's the kind of question Wallace himself would have enjoyed asking.  He might have even made it a central issue in the show, returning to it over and over again, palpating it.

The simple answer is that we see Wallace and his work as having soaked into the fabric of the way a sub-set of the generation of people in their 20s and 30s think. We also think there are other people -- some of them in their 40s and 50s -- who don't know much about Wallace, but have gathered that they really ought to know something about him.

Meanwhile, his legend grows. There are prominent characters based on him in books by two of his friends, Jonathan Franzen and Jefferey Eugenides. His Kenyon graduation address is about to be emailed to you right now, by someone you know. And there may be subtler, more finely grained ways in which he touches you. 

We'll discuss DFW's life and legacy today. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.


  

Comments

EMAIL FROM JOHN:

Thank you thank you thank you for the David Foster Wallace show today. I just this past Saturday finished Infinite Jest, which lived in my head (or I in it) for the last couple months. I bought it shortly after his death; I loved all his short stuff (especially the essays, starting with the cruise piece in Harper's) and felt it was my duty to take on the big one.

It sat on my shelf terrorizing me; I would take it off the shelf and read the first couple of pages and just get exhausted thinking about reading the whole thing. I tried to buy some time by warming up with Broom of the System. Finally I could put it off no longer, and I couldn't believe how it sucks you in; I was sad to see it end. The description of depression on 692 +/- was exactly what I'd been trying to describe to my shrink and was especially poignant given that this was written 12 years before he ended it all.

I was always sort of hoping you'd talk about this author (I didn't think you took requests) and couldn't believe my luck as I tuned in at about 1:05 today.

EMAIL FROM JOHN:

Thank you thank you thank you for the David Foster Wallace show today. I just this past Saturday finished Infinite Jest, which lived in my head (or I in it) for the last couple months. I bought it shortly after his death; I loved all his short stuff (especially the essays, starting with the cruise piece in Harper's) and felt it was my duty to take on the big one.

It sat on my shelf terrorizing me; I would take it off the shelf and read the first couple of pages and just get exhausted thinking about reading the whole thing. I tried to buy some time by warming up with Broom of the System. Finally I could put it off no longer, and I couldn't believe how it sucks you in; I was sad to see it end. The description of depression on 692 +/- was exactly what I'd been trying to describe to my shrink and was especially poignant given that this was written 12 years before he ended it all.

I was always sort of hoping you'd talk about this author (I didn't think you took requests) and couldn't believe my luck as I tuned in at about 1:05 today.

EMAIL FROM JOHN:

Thank you thank you thank you for the David Foster Wallace show today. I just this past Saturday finished Infinite Jest, which lived in my head (or I in it) for the last couple months. I bought it shortly after his death; I loved all his short stuff (especially the essays, starting with the cruise piece in Harper's) and felt it was my duty to take on the big one.

It sat on my shelf terrorizing me; I would take it off the shelf and read the first couple of pages and just get exhausted thinking about reading the whole thing. I tried to buy some time by warming up with Broom of the System. Finally I could put it off no longer, and I couldn't believe how it sucks you in; I was sad to see it end. The description of depression on 692 +/- was exactly what I'd been trying to describe to my shrink and was especially poignant given that this was written 12 years before he ended it all.

I was always sort of hoping you'd talk about this author (I didn't think you took requests) and couldn't believe my luck as I tuned in at about 1:05 today.

At our book blog, David

At our book blog, David Foster Wallace is not only a writer we reference frequently as a vast talent. He is a compass rose for the literature we seek out, exemplary of all that fiction and non-fiction can leave us with and stir in us, in equal measure. As the above commenter says, he is missed, and it's not only his untimely ending that is tragic, but also the idea that his literary voice has been silenced. Kudos to Little, Brown and Company's decision to publish his posthumous novel. Our review of THE PALE KING was posted just today; feel free to read it and connect to other DFW enthusiasts. http://dbcreads.com/2011/12/06/david-foster-wallaces-the-pale-king/

E-mail from Sara

I think the greatest thing that David foster Wallace could do was recognize and write about the absurdity of AA while simultaneously working the steps and striving towards recovery. His ability to laugh at the human condition even as he struggled with his demons endears him to those of us who struggle with our own humanness. He is missed.