D.T. Max, public lecture by New Yorker staff writer
David Foster Wallace was the leading literary light of his era, a man who not only captivated readers with his prose but also mesmerized them with his brilliant mind. In this, the first biography of the writer, D. T. Max sets out to chart Wallace’s tormented, anguished and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest. Since his untimely death by suicide at the age of forty-six in 2008, Wallace has become more than the quintessential writer for his time—he has become a symbol of sincerity and honesty in an inauthentic age. In the end, as Max shows us, what is most interesting about Wallace is not just what he wrote but how he taught us all to live. Written with the cooperation of Wallace’s family and friends and with access to hundreds of his unpublished letters, manuscripts, and audio tapes, this portrait of an extraordinarily gifted writer is as fresh as news, as intimate as a love note, as painful as a goodbye.
D.T. Max is the author of The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery as well as Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. Max is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has written for The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler, among many other publications. He also has held a fellowship at the Leon Levy Center of Biography at the City University of New York.