Kathy noted the passing of David Foster Wallace a few days ago. Here are a few more DFW tidbits.
The other day Annie Wagner posted a tastelessly titled piece on Slog that asked a question I’ve long wanted to ask. I Never Liked David Foster Wallace, which title was later changed to “I Was Never a Fan of David Foster Wallace,” ponders one of DFW’s favorite constructions. I used it just there, did you notice? “Which title.” Wallace was such a fan of this archaic-sounding grammatical quirk that you can scarcely read anything by DFW without coming across it. Here it is in Wallace’s McCain article for Rolling Stone:
In October of ‘67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies right over Hanoi.
In the comments to the original Slog post, someone suggested contacting the folks over at Language Log, which is exactly what I thought. Well, today, Mark Liberman takes up the subject on LL. It turns out that which is what’s called a relative determinative and it was indeed much more common in days gone by, though perhaps never as common as it is in David Foster Wallace’s prose. Now I know.
In other DFW news, Harper’s Magazine has posted PDFs of many of the articles he wrote for the magazine over the years, which articles are available here. Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise from January 1996 is the cruise ship article Kathy alluded to in her post the other day. It appeared as the title essay in his book A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.
Also, McSweeneys is devastated and lost.
Update: It seem I wasn’t the only one with a browser full of David Foster Wallace tabs waiting to be blogged about. Kottke has a post today with lots of good DFW stuff. As always, The Onion is right on top of things, too.