Writer David Foster Wallace killed himself Friday at the age of 46.
His trademark style — dense and intricately plotted sentences dotted with dense and intricately plotted footnotes that were often dotted with even more dense and intricately plotted footnotes — sort of looked like hyperlinked Internet text. And Infinite Jest, his best-known and most ambitious work, has a particular appeal to obsessives with access to a Web browser. But Wallace is most definitely someone you need to appreciate off line, with time to really soak yourself in the prose.
If you haven’t tried him yet, we’d suggest his 2000 profile of John McCain, which was prescient in an inverted way (see this smart WSJ interview), or his 2005 profile of an AM talk radio host (the Atlantic has done a nice job of actually converting the footnotes into hyperlinks here). Really hate words? Then you’re not going to like this stuff. But here’s some video, anyway:
Reading excerpts of two of his excellent Harpers’ pieces (28 min):
With Charlie Rose (56 min):
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