Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 16, 2011.
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) was one of the most acclaimed and influential American writers of his generation. A gifted novelist, essayist and humorist, he is best known for his 1996 opus, the novel Infinite Jest. His other books include his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987), followed by the short story collections Girl With Curious Hair (1989) and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999), the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider the Lobster (2005), and the nonfiction work Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (2003). He received a Whiting Writers’ Award in 1987, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in 1996, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, educated at Amherst College, and lived for many years in Illinois. He taught creative writing at Pomona College in Claremont, California, from 2002 until his death in 2008.
An evening in celebration of the life and work of DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (1962-2008). Writers David Lipsky, Rick Moody, and Joanna Scott will read some of their favorite selections from Wallace’s writings followed by an in depth discussion moderated by Michael Silverblatt, host of the radio interview program, Bookworm.
Abstraction has all kinds of problems and headaches built in, we all know. Part of the hazard is how we use nouns. We think of nouns’ meanings in terms of denotations. Nouns stand for thingsman, desk, pen, David, head, aspirin. A special kind of comedy results when there’s confusion about what’s a real noun, as in ‘Who’s on first?’ or those Alice in Wonderland routines’What can you see on the road?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What great eyesight! What does nothing look like?’ The comedy tends to vanish, though, when the nouns denote abstractions, meaning general concepts divorced from particular instances. Many of these abstraction-nouns come from root verbs. ‘Motion’ is a noun, and ‘existence’; we use words like this all the time. The confusion comes when we try to consider what exactly they mean.
– From Everything and More.
David Lipsky is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine and the author of works of fiction, nonfiction, and short stories including The Art Fair and Three Thousand Dollars. He contributes essays to NPR’s program, All Things Considered, and his work has appeared in numerous national publications including Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, and The New York Times Book Review. Lipsky is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. In 2010, he published Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, about a five-day road trip he took with David Foster Wallace. Lipsky teaches at New York University.
David Lipsky Bio and Cross Links
Additional photos of this event are available on Flickr.
You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website.