David Foster Wallace Friend John Seery Remembers the Late Writer

The news of David Foster Wallace's apparent suicide this weekend here in Southern California -- he was found in his Claremont home Friday night by his wife Karen Green -- has prompted tributes all over the web. One of the most unusual and intimate portraits comes from Pomona College political theory professor and author John Seery, who writes on The Huffington Post that he was a longtime workout partner of Wallace's. "I didn't dare divulge that fact to anyone in the vicinity," Seery writes. "He called himself agoraphobic. I didn't want a bunch of people descending upon the gym. It was thus I had the privilege of getting to know him in a quiet space, while stretching and doing sit-ups, and talking and talking between sets."

Seery also describes "a creepy-funny David Foster Wallacesque moment, something weird you'd read about in one of his essays -- yet there he was in person, in the flesh, while it happened."

Seery was telling Wallace how a student had informed the politics professor that "some of my work on irony had become standard research material . . . and that the local debaters were especially excited that David Foster Wallace had joined the Pomona College faculty because his work constituted the anti-irony position -- and now the local team, getting an edge on the competition, could claim direct access to the authors of both the irony folder and the anti-irony folder. To which Dave quipped, 'You mean like matter and anti-matter?' At that moment, I kid you not, I swear on whatever book you'd have me swear on, that Alanis Morissette's 'Ironic' came on as the background music in the gym. We just glanced at each other and didn't acknowledge it."

Read the whole tribute on The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seery/david-foster-wallace-1962_b_126248.html

Also, read "Satiricon," John Freeman's 2004 LA Weekly review of Wallace's short story collection Oblivion in which the critic writes, "The real joy of reading these stories is not having Wallace ferry us from point A to point B, but in watching his reptilian intelligence slither and snake across the page, flicker out its tongue and nab yet another linguistic fly off the wall. Our language is infected with a virus of fakery, he suggests over and again, and by stretching it to the absolute limit, Oblivion tries mightily to exorcise those demons from it." http://www.laweekly.com/2004-06-24/art-books/satiricon/


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >