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David Foster Wallace

GIFTED IRONISTS DIE HARD. Which is why it’s so painful to watch David Foster Wallace’s awkward attempt to transmogrify from arch metafictionist to champion of Meaning. In his recent A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, a collection of magazine articles written between ’92 and ’96 and revised for the book, we witness Wallace’s protracted struggle to shed the glib, ironic armor of his early fiction by declaring his willingness “to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs . . . the ‘Oh how banal’” of the gifted ironist. For veteran Wallace-watchers, this New Sincerity routine is hard to swallow. After all, this is the pomo prodigy whose fictional characters appear on Late Night with David Letterman, and whose obsessive footnoting leads to notes that simply read “!” or “Duh.” But in an essay from ASFTINDA (in homage to Wallace’s passion for acronyms, I’ll refer

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