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On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm 0

On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

I think the piece is well-written and carefully approaches what is definitely a delicate subject. Still, I can't help but be reminded of DFW's NY Times review of Borges: A Life, in which he expresses doubts about exercises in which biographers attempt to draw conclusions about an author's interior life from pieces of fiction they've written. And so, perhaps this should be approached with a caveat:
"A biographer wants his story to be not only interesting but literarily valuable. In order to ensure this, the bio has to make the writer's personal life and psychic travails seem vital to his work. The idea is that we can't correctly interpret a piece of verbal art unless we know the personal and/or psychological circumstances surrounding its creation. That this is simply assumed as an axiom by many biographers is one problem; another is that the approach works a lot better on some writers than on others." (The whole review can be read here: http://www.theknowe.net/dfwfiles/pdfs/Wallace-Borges_on_the%20Couch.pdf)

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm 2

On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

For whatever reason Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a few other retailers started shipping online orders last week. I just got my copy on Monday.

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm 0