Oh, no

Writer David Foster Wallace hanged himself Friday night.

That's just incredibly sad. He was one of the greatest American writers of his generation, and one of the ones that I loved the most.

With acute, embarassing self-awareness of the risk of seeming pathetic1, the kind of state Wallace described better than anyone, Shakespeare springs to mind (Wallace's magnum opus was a book called Infinite Jest):

"I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!"

I was just reading a long interview with him yesterday, done just before the publication of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. I feel like the guy I was talking to yesterday died during the night.

Update: here is an old post of mine which contains links to some of Wallace's wonderfully intricate, deeply insightful and break-a-rib-funny essays. And here is Scott Eric Kaufman's reaction to the news over at Edge of the American West. I thought of "Good Old Neon" when I heard the news, too.

1. Thereby robbing the gesture of much of its intended effect. But fuck it: I really, really mean this.

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