Monday, December 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace on "traditional human verities"

I love David Foster Wallace's writing, and am sad that he is gone. The New York Times Magazine yesterday contained an article about Wallace's philosophy that was at once a heartfelt tribute and a window into the soul of a fascinating person. This was my favorite passage from the article:

Wallace was especially concerned that certain theoretical paradigms — the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever trickery of postmodernism — too casually dispense with what he once called “the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community.”

It didn't surprise me to learn that Wallace, in an undergraduate paper, provided a mathematical proof to refute a chilling fatalistic argument that had gained notoriety at the time. His systematic deconstruction and illumination of the phenomenon that is talk radio ("Host" from his last book, "Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays") is uncompromising and utterly engaging.

I wonder what he would be writing about these days.


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