I never fully appreciated David Foster Wallace as an author until thumbing through the recently released “Greatest Hits” put together to posthumously celebrate the range of his literary contributions, prompting me to sit down with it seriously over the weekend.
The Wallace Reader opens with The Planet Trillaphon As It Stands In Relation To The Bad Thing, an early work published in the Amherst Review when David Wallace was 22, and before authorship took on his middle name. As most first works, the degree to which it is autobiographical wasn’t as clear as it would become when he committed suicide 24 years later. There is a dark side to DFW, yet – or, perhaps through this – he was able to inspire many readers and listeners, as evidenced in this video capturing the essence of a commencement speech he gave during graduation ceremonies at Kenyon College.
D.T. Max, writing in The New Yorker magazine, considers that DFW left this planet with considerable unfinished business. As a newcomer to the depth of Wallace’s writing, I’ll be traveling down the path on which he has led other readers’ eyes and minds. While I doubt that I’ll be experiencing Talmudic flashbacks as was the case for Joseph Winkler, one never knows where the linkages will lead.