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This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Lifeby David Foster Wallace
Synopses & Reviews
David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Oblivion and the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.
What is the actual, real-life value of education? In this pointedly observant examination of daily life, David Foster Wallace seeks an answer to this deceptively simple question. In doing so, he notes that, "the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about." In other words, to really understand the world, we have to get out of our own thoughts and learn to see what's right in front of us. With this, he touches on the most basic, most important decision we all make every day--"how" to think about our world. Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of casual humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.
Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
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