David Foster Wallace remembered
Nearly a year has passed since the suicide of David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), the essayist, novelist, and short-story writer many believed to be most important creative artist of his generation. In order to mark the one-year anniversary of his death, the Peabody Award-winning Wisconsin Public Radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge, which has an extensive archive of exclusive interviews by and about Wallace, compiled a retrospective on the Infinite Jest author.
The program, which includes a considerable amount of new material, aired this past weekend on many NPR affiliates, including WNED AM 970 here in Buffalo, where I heard it while driving through a thunderstorm on Sunday. In this 54-minute broadcast, which I suggest you download as MP3 Format Sound File for later reference, you will hear:
--Salon book critic Laura Miller talk about Wallace's work and legacy.
--New Yorker journalist D.T. Max discuss his March 2009 piece "The Unfinished: David Foster Wallace's struggle to surpass Infinite Jest" and the discovery of the manuscript of The Pale King, the novel Wallace was working on at the time of his death.
-- An interview with Wallace from 2004, just after the publication of his short story collection Oblivion.
--Time magazine's book critic Lev Grossman and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Lipsky talk about Wallace's nearly three-decade-long battle with depression, and his effort to stop using the powerful anti-depressive medication Nardil beginning in the middle of 2007.
--An interview with Wallace from 1996, just after the publication of Infinite Jest.
--Michael Pietsch, Wallace's editor at Little, Brown since the 1990's on working with the author, his final months of anguish, and the posthumous discovery of the unfinished manuscript of The Pale King.
--An exclusive first reading of a passage from The Pale King, which is said to be about "boredom and mortality" by Chicago based actress Carrie Coon.
--Wallace reading from his famous 1997 Harper's essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," followed with a discussion with To the Best of Our Knowledge's Steve Paulson.
--An exclusive interview with Wallace's sister, Amy Wallace-Havens on growing up with the author, and the enormity of his brilliance, humor, hope and compassion.
--And, finally, to close, a first- time-ever broadcast of an excerpt of the now almost legendary commencement address on personal ethics Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005, which has been since been published under the title This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.