David Foster Wallace

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Original Air Date: 
August 23, 2009

When David Foster Wallace committed suicide in September of 2008, there was a tsunami of grief. Readers, writers and critics poured out their sorrows in print and online. If you hadn't been paying attention for all the love for DFW, the response might have caught you by surprise. Wallace's hyper-intimate, cerebral writing style and his witty, sincere persona made him a spokesperson for his generation. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the life and work of David Foster Wallace.

Tennis in the Sierpinski triangle

The most famous thing David Foster Wallace wrote is Infinite Jest, his huge, sprawling novel set in a dystopian near future. It’s a little eerie how well he predicted our world today — including the election of someone a lot like President Trump.


An excerpt from the commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005.


Background Music: Everywhere You Turn, --Comfortably Numb, --Reciting the Airships, --The Pacifist, --'Souvenirs', 'Danced All Night', 'The Pall Bearers', --Five String Serenade, --Edge of the World, --The Long Road, --Dirty Blonde

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August 23, 2009
September 12, 2010
Last modified: 
February 28, 2023