David Foster Wallace
The post-modern, maddening maximalist (The Bus 1.48)
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David Foster Wallace (1962 - 2008) was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist whose dense, complicated work offers a ‘dark, often satirical analysis’ of American culture. He wrote in a ‘self-consciously maximalist style,’ characterised by ‘endlessly fracturing’ narratives and complex sentences and footnotes.1 The son of a philosophy professor father and English teacher mother, Wallace was an A student throughout high school, received a B.A. from Amherst College in 1985 and studied for a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona. Despite a full scholarship to Harvard Graduate School to study philosophy, he decided - based on his experience with writing his senior thesis novel (The Broom of the System (1987)) - that only writing would suffice as a career: while philosophy made him feel he was using 50% of himself, writing made him feel like he was using 97%. In 1997, he received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship grant.2
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