In this hour, salon book critic Laura Miller explains why David Foster Wallace was the most important writer of his generation. Wallace became a literary rock star in his thirties for the novel Infinite Jest. Time Magazine later included it on its list of "All Time 100 Greatest Novels." When Wallace committed suicide in September 2008 his fans grieved, wrote tributes, and began to speculate about rumors of an unfinished novel. Journalist DT Max tells Steve Paulson about the novel's discovery, Wallace's creative struggles with The Pale King, and the novel's subject - boredom. Also, an interview with David Foster Wallace with Steve Paulson from 2004, just after the publication of his short story collection Oblivion.
Next, Time Magazine's book critic Lev Grossman remembers David Foster Wallace, and we present another interview with Wallace in 1996, right after Infinite Jest was published. Michael Pietsch was Wallace's editor at Little, Brown starting in the 90s and is currently at work editing the unfinished novel The Pale King. Pietsch has given us exclusive rights to a passage from the novel, which is read by Chicago actress Carrie Coon.
And finally, one of David Foster Wallace's most popular essays is A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, which ran originally in Harper's Magazine. In 1997 he read a bit of the article for us, and talked with Steve Paulson about it. Also we have an excerpt from the commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005. It was eventually published under the title This is Water. [Broadcast Date: August 26, 2009]