Top 100

Top 500 David Foster Wallace Quotes (2023 Update)
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David Foster Wallace Quote: “Look down your shirt and spell attic.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately – the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “An ad that pretends to be art is – at absolute best – like somebody who smiles warmly at you only because he wants something from you. This.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The sound of wind had become, for me, silence. When it went away, I was left with the squeak of the blood in my head and the aural glitter of all those little eardrum hairs quivering like a drunk in withdrawal.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Imagine the day after the Berlin Wall came down if everybody in East Germany was plump and comfortable-looking and dressed in Caribbean pastels, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what the Fort Lauderdale Airport terminal looks like today.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This is how to play with personal integrity in a tournament’s early rounds, when there is no umpire. Any ball that lands on your side and is too close to call: call it fair. Here is how to be invulnerable to gamesmanship. To keep your attention’s aperture tight. Here is how to teach yourself, when an opponent maybe cheats on the line-calls, to remind yourself that what goes around comes around. That a poor sport’s punishment is always self-inflicted. Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Keep in mind that a language is both a map of the world and its own world, with its own shadowlands and crevasses – places where statements that seem to obey all the language’s rules are nevertheless impossible to deal with.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Do not underestimate objects, he advises Stice. Do not leave objects out of account. The world, after all, which is radically old, is made up of mostly objects.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This argument is not the barrel of drugged trout that Methodological Descriptivism was, but it’s still vulnerable to objections.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, ‘then’ what do we do?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The modern woman’s a mess of contradictions that they lay on themselves that drives them nuts.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This is so American, man: either make something your God and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “What fire dies when you feed it?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We are the Few, the Proud, the More or Less Constantly Appalled at Everyone Else.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is a craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I cannot say what color Lenore Beadsman’s eyes are; I cannot look at them; they are the sun to me.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It may well be that we, spectators, who are not divinely gifted as athletes, are the only ones able truly to see, articulate, and animate the experience of the gift we are denied. And that those who receive and act out the gift of athletic genius must, perforce, be blind and dumb about it – and not because blindness and dumbness are the price of the gift, but because they are its essence.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “They’re probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us here, but the fact is that religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s atheist’s – arrogance, blind certainty, a closed-mindedness that’s like an imprisonment so complete that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It is tragic and sad and chaotic and lovely. All life is the same, as citizens of the human State: the animating limits are within, to be killed and mourned, over and over again.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s all very confusing. I think I’m very honest and candid, but I’m also proud of how honest and candid I am – so where does that put me?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The library, and step on it!”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “She was the kind of fatally pretty and nubile wraithlike figure who glides through the sweaty junior-high corridors of every nocturnal emitter’s dreamscape.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It is within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars – compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: the only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Francophones are never impressed that anyone else can speak French.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Chutes and Ladders was perhaps the most sadistic board game ever invented. Adults loathed the game; children loved it. The universe thus dictated that an adult invariably got snookered into playing the game with a child.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Now a second-order vain person is a vain person who’s also vain about appearing to have an utter lack of vanity. Who’s enormously afraid that other people will perceive him as vain. A second-order vain person will sit up late learning jokes in order to appear funny and charming, but will deny that he sits up late learning jokes. Or he’ll perhaps even try to give the impression that he doesn’t regard himself as funny at all.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One of his troubles with his Moms is the fact that Avril Incandenza believes she knows him inside and out as a human being, and an internally worthy one at that, when in fact inside Hal there’s pretty much nothing at all, he knows. His Moms Avril hears her own echoes inside him and thinks what she hears is him, and this makes Hal feel the one thing he feels to the limit, lately: he is lonely. It’s.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Don’t worry about getting in touch with your feelings, they’ll get in touch with you.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “For these cultures, getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire’s still going.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Two clocks, two ghosts, one square acre of hidden mirror.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I had, by thirteen, developed a sort of Taoist hubris about my ability to control via non-control.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “If you worship power, you will feel weak and afraid, needing ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The sharply precise divisions and boundaries, together with the fact that – wind and your more exotic-type spins aside – balls can be made to travel in straight lines only, make textbook tennis plane geometry. It is billiards with balls that won’t hold still. It is chess on the run. It is to artillery and airstrikes what football is to infantry and attrition.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Of course, the fact that Dostoevsky can tell a juicy story isn’t enough to make him great. If it were, Judith Krantz and John Grisham would be great fiction writers, and by any but the most commercial standards they’re not even very good.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I will probably write an hour a day and spend eight hours a day biting my knuckle and worrying about not writing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One of the things that makes Wittgenstein a real artist to me is that he realized that no conclusion could be more horrible than solipsism.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “At root, vulgar just means popular on a mass scale. It is the semantic opposite of pretentious or snobby. It is humility with a comb-over. It is Nielsen ratings and Barnum’s axiom and the real bottom line. It is big, big business.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of the part of yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “For those who’ve never experienced a sunrise in the rural midwest, it’s roughly as soft and romantic as someone’s abruptly hitting the lights in a dark room.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The real secret behind top athletes’ genius, then, may be as esoteric and obvious and dull and profound as silence itself. The real, many-veiled answer to the question of just what goes through a great player’s mind as he stands at the center of a hostile crowdnoise and lines up the free-throw that will decide the game might well be: nothing at all.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I’m not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose the Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “There is about world-class athletes carving out exemptions from physical laws a transcendent beauty that makes manifest God in man.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “A city that pretends to be nothing but what it is, an enormous machine of exchange – of spectacle for money, of sensation for money, of money for more money, of pleasure for whatever be tomorrow’s abstract cost.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Le graduatorie servono a farvi capire a che punto siete, non chi siete. Memorizzate il vostro piazzamento mensile, poi dimenticatelo.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Ideally, each piece of art’s its own unique object, and its evaluation’s always present-tense.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Something they seem to omit to mention in Boston AA when you’re new and out of your skull with desperation and ready to eliminate your map and they tell you how it’ll all get better and better as you abstain and recover: they somehow omit to mention that the way it gets better and you get better is through pain. Not around pain, or in spite of it.”
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