The Cult Could Become a Church: On David Foster Wallace

Longreads

I once dated a David Foster Wallace fanboy. You know who I mean: He’s white. He’s straight. He went to a small liberal arts college. He interrogates you on which DFW books you’ve read—the novels, or just the essays? He’s read Infinite Jest probably more than once. He thinks he has a unique take on the author’s work and the man’s life (and death).

My ex isn’t alone; DFW fanaticism swept the literary States in the early to mid-aughts. Prepare for the fans to be flamed (or the flames to be fanned): The End of the Tour (based on an account of Wallace’s Infinite Jest book tour) stars Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel and hits theaters on July 31. If you’ve never heard of this acclaimed author, treasure your last moments of innocence; then, read this primer at Vulture on DFW’s contested legacy.

David Foster Wallace has always been an unstable commodity…

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