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Up, Simba!: 7 Days on the Trail of an Anticandidate
Fate, Time and Language
The Pale King
The Broom of the System
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments
Up, Simba!: 7 Days on the Trail of an Anticandidate – Wallace writes about John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign, riding the bus called “The Straight Talk Express”. The title is what a television news cameraman covering the campaign says before hoisting his camera onto his shoulder. Originally published in the April 2000 issue of Rolling Stone as “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub”; later republished in the context of the 2008 presidential race as “McCain’s Promise”. The essay won the 2001 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.
Fate, Time and Language – In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor’s method, which, according to him, scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor’s argument. This essay presents Wallace‘s brilliant critique of Taylor’s work. Written long before the publication of his fiction and essays, Wallace‘s thesis reveals his great skepticism of abstract thinking made to function as a negation of something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of certain paradigms of thought-the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever gimmickry of postmodernism-that abandoned “the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community.”
The Pale King – The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.
The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace‘s death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook.
The Broom of the System – The “dazzling, exhilarating” (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from one of this century’s most groundbreaking writers, The Broom of the System is an outlandishly funny and fiercely intelligent exploration of the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality.
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments – In this exuberantly praised book – a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner – David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction.
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