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Customer Discussions > Infinite Jest: A Novel forum

Author Wallace Dead at 46

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 15, 2008 10:16:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 15, 2008 10:17:28 AM PDT
Doc Occula says:
David Foster Wallace hung himself to death last night. He was only 46. The literary world has lost a brilliant mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2008 2:13:11 PM PDT
A brilliant Mind, indeed, who died like many brilliant minds have. It is a sad day for literature.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 10:27:26 AM PDT
While a graduate student at Illinois State, I was fortunate enough to have DFW as a creative writing instructor. He was our English department's rock star and what we all aspired to be. It's difficult to reconcile his image in our eyes with the deeply depressed individual he really was. By coincidence, I was recently assigned by an Indianapolis newspaper to cover an upcoming appearance by Wallace at Butler University. Instead, I ended up writing his obituary. It was the least enviable event I've ever been assigned to cover.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 11:12:40 AM PDT
I read this morning that he had battled debilitating depression most of his life, and just last year discontinued his medication because of the side effects. This was disturbing to me as someone who battles depression myself (though I'm nowhere near as brilliant as DFW) without meds. This is a tragic loss to the literary world and to the world in general.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2008 2:10:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 1, 2008 2:13:20 PM PDT
lovestoread says:
Although I don't have anything like his talent, I had a similar experience with medication that caused me to become suicidal and it caused mania and started a downward spiral that led to disability retirement and a brief hospitalization.

David Foster Wallace had been depressed for many years, but he had aggressively pursued treatment from what it sounded like, taking medication for a long time. And then he began to experience side effects that were severe. He followed a doctor's orders to go off the medication and a downward spiral started.

I think sometimes when medication treatments go wrong, the patient has some blame. For example I did some stupid stuff like overspending. But then there are other things like such as severe depression that does not respond to treatment. In this case considering that person to be "bad" or "responsible" for taking his own life may not be fair.

We are at the beginning of treatments for serious depression and I personally have been to a place where I needed ECT b/c nothing else would work. It lifted me out of depression temporarily, until other medication and talk therapy could help. Unfortunately it did not appear to have similar effects for him. ECT seems to fail for a lot of people, which is part of why it's usually considered a last resort.

What I am trying to say is that he was in a bad place and he appeared to have done everything he could to avoid this. It is a real tragedy.

Posted on Oct 16, 2010 5:20:15 PM PDT
It's Hanged.

Posted on Oct 22, 2010 5:10:38 PM PDT
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Posted on Feb 11, 2011 4:12:12 PM PST
I greatly enjoyed his essays, and found DFW, in the pages of his book-length interview with David Lipinsky, to be an intelligent, engaging, and quite possibly very likeable human being. Sadly, I can't find it within me to be an enthusiastic supporter of his fictive literary output--I simply don't feel that the creation of, and spinning tales about, imaginary universes was ever his strong point (witness 'Infinite Jest'). However the art of the engagingly spun and entertainingly wry essay is certainly the poorer for his loss to it--and the sadness and shock that his family must still be feeling even now is a sorrowful thing to contemplate. RIP, DFW.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2011 7:59:29 PM PDT
John D. Sens says:
Thank goodness someone still knows the difference between hung and hanged.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2011 11:01:55 AM PDT
CDaniels says:
Hung emerged as pp. 16c. in northern England dialect, and hanged endured only in legal language (which tends to be conservative) and metaphors extended from it (I'll be hanged).
Verb- hanged (archaic and law) Simple past tense and past participle of hang.
Where would pedants be without being able to make a distinction?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2011 3:59:35 PM PDT
"Hanged" is the correct usage in this case and "hung" is not. Pedantry is not the issue here.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 8:08:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2013 8:14:59 AM PST
These days it should be hanged if only to avoid the unhelpful sexual echo that goes with "hung" in present day usage. As in "What happened?", "He was hung!", "I know, but how did he die?"

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 11:32:56 AM PST
CDaniels says:
You accuse me of pedantry, while insisting you have the correct usage!?!? "A pedant is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism and precision, or who makes a show of his or her learning." Next try looking up "hypocrite."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 11:41:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2013 11:41:19 AM PST
CDaniels says:
Wit worthy of D. Wallace! Thank you for the much needed humor!
Personally, I used two seconds of time to google "hanged" in order to counter pedantry disguised as a compliment. As a result, I get accused of pedantry myself. Oh, well...
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Participants:  11
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Sep 15, 2008
Latest post:  Feb 9, 2013

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Infinite Jest
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Paperback - November 13, 2006)
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