Author Spotlight: David Foster Wallace

Author Spotlight: David Foster Wallace

The Life of an Innovator

American writer David Foster Wallace was born in 1962 and died at the young age of 46 in 2008. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College with a double major in philosophy (focusing on mathematics and modal logic) and English. Wallace went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Afterwards, he began a PhD program in mathematical philosophy at Harvard University, but dropped out because it was too easy for him.  Instead of forging what was looking to be a successful career in philosophy, Wallace devoted his time to revolutionizing American fiction, writing one of the longest novels in the English language, and developing what some critics have called “meta-metafiction.”

Book Writing and More

David Foster Wallace wrote his first two books while he was an undergraduate. During his senior year at Amherst, Wallace wrote both a book-length, heavily technical philosophical treatise (which has since been published in book-formand a novel that garnered both critical and popular success. In other words, Wallace had written two great books in different fields at an age when most of us haven’t even begun our careers. In total, he published three short story collections, two-and-a-half novels, a book of philosophy, a book on the history of mathematical infinity, countless essays, and even a book about the history of rap music.

What Made Him So Good

David Foster Wallace’s writing is able to successfully combine philosophy and fiction in a way that sacrifices neither the rigor of his ideas nor the approachability of his fiction. Wallace was connected to both the academic world and popular culture, and his writing synthesizes the two. More than either of these things, though, Wallace cared deeply about what he did: striving to write “morally passionate, passionately moral fiction.” He led a sort of personal revolution against irony and detachment in the name of earnestness. Wallace’s quest for earnestness did not lead him to step backwards in the direction of sappy writing, but to take one step beyond the ironic detachment of postmodern and meta-fiction. He attempted to return to passionate writing by becoming doubly ironic, by taking a “meta-” approach to already meta-fiction. Whether injecting an extra layer of self-awareness into already self-aware processes succeeded at dissolving irony is up for debate, but David Foster Wallace’s intellectual celebrity and impressive accomplishments have made a lasting mark in the world of American fiction.

Even If You’re Not DFW, You Can Be an Author, Too –
Hire a Ghostwriter

While probably none of us can hope to match David Foster Wallace’s achievements, it is not as difficult to become a published author as you may think. Leaving a legacy with a published book can seem a pie-in-the-sky goal for many reasons, not the least of which are time and writing skills. Luckily, if you have an idea for any kind of book, you can hire experts to handle the writing process. (Ever wonder what David Foster Wallace says about the writing process? Find out in our blog post on DFW’s essay, “The Nature of the Fun”.) You remain the author, because the book is a product of your ideas. However, hiring a ghostwriter can be what you need to take your idea to the page: whether it’s fictionbusiness, or anything in between. Contact us today to learn more about what a ghostwriter can do for you.