Thursday, September 18, 2008

David Foster Wallace Dies at 46

David Foster Wallace Dies at 46

Infinite Jest author and Rolling Stone contributor David Foster Wallace was found dead in his Claremont, California home Friday night. His wife called police at 9:30 p.m. to report she had discovered Wallace hanged himself. He was 46.

In 2000, Wallace covered John McCain on the campaign trail for Rolling Stone in a piece called “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and the Shrub: Seven Days in the Life of the Late, Great John McCain.” He also contributed “The View From Mrs. Thompson’s” in October 2001, which describes his personal 9/11 experience in Illinois; that piece is included in the 2005 collection Lobster and Other Essays. Earlier this summer, Wallace published an expanded version of his McCain piece as McCain’s Promise.

Wallace, who was born on February 21, 1962, spent a large part of his childhood in Illinois, where both of his parents worked as professors. After studying English and philosophy at Amherst, Wallace published his first novel, The Broom of the System, in 1987. His footnote-packed 1,079 opus Infinite Jest came out nearly a decade later, but he published short stories and essays in the interim, including 1989’s Girl With the Curious Hair and Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present, a meditation on hip-hop he wrote with Mark Costello. In 1997, he received a MacArthur “Genius Grant” and published the non-fiction collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

Wallace had taught creative writing at Pomona College for the past six years; he was on leave this semester.

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