New David Foster Wallace Site Is Good News for Fan Boys
If you’re not obsessed with David Foster Wallace, you might not know that every single idea the guy ever jotted down is now being packaged and published, bled for every possible penny, ever since the author committed suicide two years ago. The latest in what’s sure to be an eternal series of posthumous publications is Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will, Wallace’s undergrad thesis at Amherst. Some have called this publication a joke, claiming that a) Wallace never intended for this particular work to be published and b) a 22-year-old’s thesis on free will isn’t remotely worth reading, even if that 22 year-old went on to become the greatest novelist of his generation. Others are simply excited at the chance to read more Wallace.
I personally belong to the “whatever” camp. On the one hand, the thesis doesn’t sound like it’s worth paying much attention to, unless you’re writing a PhD on the Infinite Jest author. On the other, Wallace’s previously-published philosophical treatise on the concept of eternity was a fascinating read for a layman like myself. He certainly has a knack for unpacking complex ideas, and also a non-academic, entertaining writing style, though I’ve heard the work was dismissed by true science scholars as fairly rudimentary.
Columbia University Press, who published Fate, Time, and Language, has put together a pretty cool website for the book, featuring contextualizing essays, excerpts, and video commentary from philosophy students.