In the first big David Foster Wallace documentary since his suicide, the BBC’s Professor Geoff Ward discusses the author’s childhood, legacy, preoccupations and battles with the gentleness of a true fan but the exactitude of a scholar. On the radio missive, which first aired on the BBC on February 6th, Ward interviews Wallace’s contemporaries (Rick Moody and Mark Costello, who was also Wallace’s college roommate), Don DeLillo, Michael Pietsch, editor of Infinite Jest, Wallace’s agent, Bonnie Nadell and his sister, Amy Wallace. He also mines archives of interviews with DFW — some of the most wonderful are with Wallace discussing irony — and accents his ruminations and conversations with passages from Infinite Jest as well as the forthcoming The Pale King.
If you’re a reader, a writer or even just a member of the television saturation generation, it’s worth a listen, and if you’re a fan of Wallace, the program may tug at your heartstrings, suggesting what might have been, but celebrating the man as he was. As Don DeLillo tells Ward, “I can’t think of anyone quite like him, at all… Wallace stands alone.” Click through to hear the documentary in its entirety.
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