In Memoriam: David Foster Wallace ’85

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September 14, 2008

DFW-2

David Foster Wallace ’85, a towering figure in modern literature who died Friday, Sept. 12, in Claremont, Calif., was remembered by one of his English professors as an unassuming student of both prodigious talent and productivity, while a roommate recalled Mr. Wallace as a close friend who was serious and sincere as a student at Amherst. 

“It was an enormous privilege to work with David during his senior honors project in English, which became nothing less than his first published novel, ‘The Broom of the System,’”  said Dale E. Peterson, the Eliza Clark Folger Professor of English at Amherst.

In Memoriam: David Foster Wallace ’85

audioListen to an audio recording of the celebration of the life and writing of David Foster Wallace ’85

Loading the player ...

September 14, 2008

DFW-2

David Foster Wallace ’85, a towering figure in modern literature who died Friday, Sept. 12, in Claremont, Calif., was remembered by one of his English professors as an unassuming student of both prodigious talent and productivity, while a roommate recalled Mr. Wallace as a close friend who was serious and sincere as a student at Amherst. 

“It was an enormous privilege to work with David during his senior honors project in English, which became nothing less than his first published novel, ‘The Broom of the System,’”  said Dale E. Peterson, the Eliza Clark Folger Professor of English at Amherst.

“Reading It, I Didn’t Feel So Alone”

By Emily Gold Boutilier

Daniel Pastan ’13 discovered Infinite Jest three years after the death of its author, David Foster Wallace ’85. “I just fell in love,” says Pastan, who read the book while studying abroad in Thailand. “I’d never read anything like it before. This sounds melodramatic, but reading it, I didn’t feel so alone.”

Concluding Unscientific Postscript

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The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel, by David Foster Wallace ’85 (Little, Brown)

Reviewed by Dale E. Peterson

The Teacher

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As a visiting instructor at Amherst, Wallace, pictured in Illinois in 1996, was “a soft-spoken, sweet-natured man who wrapped his head in a signature bandana and carried a sharp red pencil to ward off grammatical and stylistic offenses.”

Talking with Dave

Like a Set of Old Clothes

The Start of Everything that Followed

David Foster Wallace at Amherst

Brief Interview with a Five Draft Man

The author David Foster Wallace '85, a towering figure in modern literature, died on Sept. 12.  Best known for his novel Infinite Jest, Wallace received an honorary degree from Amherst in 1999. That year, Amherst magazine writer Stacey Schmeidel interviewed Wallace by mail. The feature-length Q & A, titled "Brief Interview With a Five Draft Man," ran in the Spring 1999 issue of the magazine, and is reprinted here:

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