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Top 500 David Foster Wallace Quotes (2023 Update)
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David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s not that students don’t “get” Kafka’s humor but that we’ve taught them to see humor as something you get-the same way we’ve taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “God, what a ghastly enterprise to be in, though-and what an odd way to achieve success. I’m an exhibitionist who wants to hide, but is unsuccessful at hiding; therefore, somehow I succeed.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I just think that fiction that isn’t exploring what it means to be human today isn’t art.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Irony tyrannizes us. All US irony is based on an implicit ‘I don’t really mean what I’m saying.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The sun like a sneaky keyhole view of hell.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The music’s still going, going absolutely nowhere, like Philip Glass on Quaaludes.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “And here’s a cliche’ that’s earned its status as a cliche’: whether you’re free or locked up depends, all and only, on what you want. What you have matters about as much as the color of your sky. Or your bars.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s like a fugue of evaded responsibility.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “That concentrating intently on anything is very hard work.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “A question, doctor,” he said. “Why doesn’t the coyote take the money he spends on bird costumes and catapults and radioactive road runner food pellets and explosive missiles and simply go eat Chinese?” He smiled coolly. “Why doesn’t the coyote simply go eat Chinese food?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “What’s unendurable is what his own head could make of it all. What his head could report to him, looking over and ahead and reporting.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Am I happy? is one of those questions that, if it has got to be asked, more or less dictates its own answer.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Apeshit has rarely enjoyed so literal a denotation.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Tell them there are no holes for your fingers in the masks of men. Tell them how could you ever even hope to love what you can’t grab onto.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This is PCE’s core fallacy – that a society’s mode of expression is productive of its attitudes rather than a product of those attitudes 63 – and of course it’s nothing but the obverse of the politically conservative SNOOT’s delusion that social change can be retarded by restricting change in standard usage.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “This is nourishing, redemptive we become less alone inside.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I had four hundred thousand pages of continental philosophy and lit theory in my head. And by God, I was going to use it to prove to him that I was smarter than he was.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I read,′ I say. ‘I study and read. I bet I’ve read everything you’ve read. Don’t think I haven’t. I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “There’s a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I’m in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don’t with other art.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Julie has told Faye that she believes lovers go through three different stages in getting really to know one another. First they exchange anecdotes and inclinations. Then each tells the other what she believes. Then each observes the relation between what the other says she believes and what she in fact does.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We’re all on each other’s food chain. All of us. It’s an individual sport. Welcome to the meaning of individual. We’re each deeply alone here. It’s what we all have in common, this aloneness.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We may say, roughly, that a mathematical idea is ‘significant’ if it can be connected, in a natural and illuminating way, with a large complex of other mathematical ideas. Thus a serious mathematical theorem, a theorem which connects significant ideas, is likely to lead to important advances in mathematics itself and even in other sciences.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “True heroism is a priori incompatible with audience or applause or even the bare notice of the common run of man. In fact,’ he said, ’the less conventionally heroic or exciting or adverting or even interesting or engaging a labor appears to be, the greater its potential as an arena for actual heroism, and therefore as a denomination of joy unequaled by any you men can yet imagine.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think the language needs to find new ways to pull the reader. And my personal belief is a lot of it has to do with voice, and a feeling of intimacy between the writer and the reader. That sorta, given the atomization and loneliness of contemporary life – that’s our opening, and that’s’ our gift.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “There’s been time this whole time. You can’t kill time with your heart. Everything takes time.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Good literature makes your head throb heartlike.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think the only thing for me, the tricky thing with the footnotes, is that they are an irritant, and they require a little extra work, and so they either have to be really germane or they have to be kind of fun to read.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us deep down. It’s our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “A novelist has to know enough about a subject to fool the passenger next to him on an airplane.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Life is essentially one long search for an ashtray.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “She smelled of talcum powder and Big Red.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “If you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do it.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “You have decided being scared is caused mostly by thinking.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Untitled. Unfinished. UNRELEASED.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Knowing that internal stress could cause failure on the exam merely set up internal stress about the prospect of internal stress.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “That you just naturally want what we, your fathers, work night and day to make sure you want? Grow up, for Christ’s sake. Join the world. We produce what makes you want to need to consume. Advertising. Laxatives. HMO’s. Baking soda. Insurance. Your fears are built – and your wishes, on that foundation.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s always seemed a little preposterous that Hamlet, for all his paralyzing doubt about everything, never once doubts the reality of the ghost. Never.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The individual’s right to pursue his own vision of the best ration of pleasure to pain: utterly sacrosanct.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Between a cold kitchen window gone opaque with the stove’s wet heat and the breath of us, an open drawer, and the gilt ferrotype of identical boys flanking a blind vested father which hung in a square recession above the wireless’s stand, my Mum stood and cut off my long hair in the uneven heat.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Authors are monkeys who mean.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I find in myself a need to get very away.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “All on a real superficial-type level, since Watson’s basically got like a little liquid-filled nubbin at the top of his spine where his brain ought to be.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We’re a family that takes its home entertainment very seriously.”
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