My Review of “Gesturing Toward Reality”

Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and PhilosophyGesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy by Robert K. Bolger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My head is about to explode with all that I learned from this book.

This amazing collection of essays on the philosophy of David Foster Wallace provides insights to David’s thinking and writing which I had not seen before, and I’ve read a lot of DFW and DFW analysis. I learned that David was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer, which I had suspected but did not know, and I certainly didn’t know the extent of the influence.

And while it is well-known that David admired Wittgenstein, it is less well-known (or was to me) that David actually misinterpreted Wittgenstein with regard to what language can do. This made me realize that, when God created the universe, the first law he put in place is that “everyone misunderstands some aspect(s) of Wittgenstein,” with the second law being, of course, E=m*c*c.

I also have a much better understanding of how David fit into the “new sincerity” movement and what the real aims of that movement have been.

What amazed and pleased me the most was that every essay was presented in a way that I could actually understand it, and didn’t have to go out and get a philosophy degree to do so. The writing, by every contributor, is really well-done.

I’ll be reading through this one again.

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