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After this past week, we—like many of David Foster Wallace’s
readers—want to reconsider the larger place and
wellsprings of literature. We shall retreat for a time to do so.
As of and for now…
“DFW 6219 /0820 , Or
The Physical Impossibility of Death
in the Mind of Someone Living”
Aging feels (inside the blood and bone submarine that is
the subjective self) like the inexorable, gravity-geared consequence
of seeing one’s hopes sea-changed
and one’s era becoming less and
less conveyable to all but an accidental few.
David Foster Wallace has left the
map, and in
the moon, unblinking, stays full. At this instant—
in this low-ceilinged room—I don’t want to think about
the Wallace novels we’ll never read or how we’ll explain him
to the smart teenagers of ten years hence or the
apologetically DFW-illiterate 20 and 30-somethings of today.
You probably needed to be there. What an impoverished
sentiment, a failure of telling. But perhaps this will be the
only way we can amplify and project the arcing current that
was reading Wallace these past 12 post-“Infinite Jest” years.
Years that I won’t condescend to describe, because we lived through
them together. Wallace wrote books and penned accounts for the
long antennaed citizens of his broadly-defined generation.
The overschooled and melancholic, the hopeful and the addled,
howling in the sod square quads and bad wine apartments of
And to tell it— I’m low, I’ve been brought low by his disappearance.
Dave Wallace has left in mid-narrative. Will he be read
in a 100 years? 200? Has he secured his place?
These are needless culture industry musings.
Let’s not assume that the dominion of our moment will persist.
Let’s merely know that this is our moment, and know that
we’ve now lost one green-jeweled part of it.
- N. Paul de Silva
Investigate these links:
/The centrifugal axis of David F. Wallace on the World Wide Web:
/Wallace on fiction writing; he ends on a note of time-nullifying repose:
/2006 Bookend to Wallace’s mid-90s interviews:
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vector: bricolageurs AT theglacialbough DOT com