Very Few Innocent Sentences

The Personas of David Foster Wallace

Taylor Beck
Jun 23, 2015 · 4 min read

by Taylor Beck

“The people who knew David least well are most likely to speak of him in saintly terms,” — Jonathan Franzen

Wallace never wanted to be sainted, as is clear in his writing. In his famous essay “Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky,” DFW called the Russian writer “a literary titan, and in some ways this can be the kiss of death, because it becomes easy to regard him as yet another sepia-tinted Canonical Author, belovedly dead.” What Wallace wanted was to feel, and to make us feel, less alone, more human, and more together. He did not want to be a symbol to be used. “To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.”

Just Words

Writers, artists, and thinkers celebrating David Foster…

Just Words

Writers, artists, and thinkers celebrating David Foster Wallace. A publication from A24 and the upcoming film THE END OF THE TOUR.

Taylor Beck

Written by

Just Words

Writers, artists, and thinkers celebrating David Foster Wallace. A publication from A24 and the upcoming film THE END OF THE TOUR.