David Foster Wallace
American writer David Foster Wallace authored a number of novels, stories and essays in his short life. But he was particularly well known for his 1996 novel <i>Infinite Jest</i>, a broad, sprawling, postmodern work of fiction which was named by <i>Time</i> magazine as one of the 100 best novels written in the English language. The novel was adopted by a new generation of literature fans much as Thomas Pynchon's <i>Gravity's Rainbow</i> had been in the 1970s. Born into an academic family in Ithaca, New York, Wallace spent his college years studying philosophy, English, and modal logic at Amherst College, his father's alma mater. His philosophy senior thesis was awarded the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize. His other thesis, written to satisfy his English major, became his first novel, <i>The Broom of the System</i>. Wallace taught at a number of colleges and universities including Emerson College in Boston, and Illinois State University. During this time he worked on <i>Infinite Jest</i>, which was set in part in Allston, the rough-edged Boston neighborhood in which he lived during his years there. A year after the book's publication, Wallace was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and the Aga Prize for Fiction, bestowed by the editorial board of <i>The Paris Review</i>. After its widespread success, Wallace published two short story collections, <i>Brief Interviews with Hideous Men</i> (1999) and <i>Oblivion: Stories</i> (2005). There were also two collections of his non-fiction work, <i>A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again</i> (1997) and <i>Consider the Lobster</i>. Wallace gave the 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College; the speech was later published as a book entitled <i>This is Water</i>. On September 12, 2008 Wallace committed suicide, hanging himself in his garage. Wallace, who had suffered from depression for much of his life, had left a two-page note for his family along with portions of the unfinished manuscript for his final novel <i>The Pale King</i>. Wallace's death did little to dim his literary celebrity. In 2015, comic actor and writer Jason Segel played Wallace opposite Jesse Eisenberg as <i>Rolling Stone</i> journalist David Lipsky in "The End of the Tour" (2015), a dramatization of the four days the two men spent together while Wallace was promoting <i>Infinite Jest</i>.