Synopses & Reviews
Asked in 2006 about the philosophical nature of his fiction, the late American writer David Foster Wallace replied, "If some people read my fiction and see it as fundamentally about philosophical ideas, what it probably means is that these are pieces where the characters are not as alive and interesting as I meant them to be."
Gesturing Toward Reality looks into this quality of Wallace's work—when the writer dons the philosopher's cap—and sees something else. With essays offering a careful perusal of Wallace's extensive and heavily annotated self-help library, re-considerations of Wittgenstein's influence on his fiction, and serious explorations into the moral and spiritual landscape where Wallace lived and wrote, this collection offers a perspective on Wallace that even he was not always ready to see. Since so much has been said in specifically literary circles about Wallace's philosophical acumen, it seems natural to have those with an interest in both philosophy and Wallace's writing address how these two areas come together.
About the Author
Robert K. Bolger (Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, USA) is the author of Kneeling at the Altar of Science: The Mistaken Path of Contemporary Religious Scientism.
Scott Korb is Professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, USA. He is the associate editor of The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers (2008), co-author of The Faith Between Us (Bloomsbury, 2007), and author of Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine (2010).
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors
Chapter One. How We Ought To Do Things With WordsAlexis Burgess
Chapter Two. The Subsurface Unity of All Things, Or David Foster Wallaces Free WillLeland de la Durantaye
Chapter Three. A Less ‘Bullshitty Way To Live: The Pragmatic Spirituality of David Foster WallaceRobert K. Bolger
Chapter Four. This is Water and Religious Self-DeceptionKevin Timpe
Chapter Five. Inside David Foster Wallaces Head: Attention, Loneliness, Suicide and the Other Side of BoredomAndrew Bennett
Chapter Six. The Lobster ConsideredRobert C. Jones
Chapter Seven. The Terrible Master: David Foster Wallace and the Suffering of Consciousness (with Guest Arthur Schopenhauer) Blakey Vermeule
Chapter Eight. Philosophy, Self-Help and the Death of David WallaceMaria Bustillos
Chapter Nine. Untrendy Problems: The Pale Kings Philosophical InspirationsJon Baskin
Chapter Ten. The Formative Philosophical Influences of David Foster Wallace With Special Reference to The Broom of the System Tom Tracey
Chapter Eleven. Beyond Philosophy: David Foster Wallace and the Dangers of TheorizingRandy Ramal
Chapter Twelve. Good Faith and Sincerity: Sartrean Virtues of Self-Becoming in David Foster Wallaces Infinite Jest Allard den Dulk
Chapter Thirteen. Theories of Everything and More: Infinity Is Not The EndRyan David Mullins
Chapter Fourteen. Does Language Fail Us? Wallaces Struggle with Solipsism Patrick Horn