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David Foster Wallace Quotes
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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: “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: “I just think that fiction that isn’t exploring what it means to be human today isn’t art.”
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: “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: “Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.”
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: “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: “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: “It’s like a fugue of evaded responsibility.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I knew my limitations and the limitations of the courts I played on, and adjusted thusly. I was at my best in bad conditions.”
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: “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: “I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “You’d be doing us both a favor.’ ‘This drives me bats. You know this drives me bats.’ Orin and Hal’s term for this routine is Politeness Roulette. This Moms-thing that makes you hate yourself for telling her the truth about any kind of problem because of what the consequences will be for her. It’s like to report any sort of need or problem is to mug her.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It is unimaginably hard to do this – to live consciously, adultly, day in and day out.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Someone has farted; no one knows just who, but this isn’t like a normal adult place where everybody coolly pretends a fart didn’t happen; here everybody has to make their little comment.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “No one can call themselves a writer until he or she has written at least fifty stories.”
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: “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: “We will, of course, without hesitation use art to parody, ridicule, debunk, or criticize ideologies.”
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: “Apeshit has rarely enjoyed so literal a denotation.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The reader becomes God, for all textual purposes. I see your eyes glazing over, so I’ll hush.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “And then also, again, still, what are those boundaries, if they’re not baselines, that contain and direct its infinite expansion inward, that make tennis like chess on the run, beautiful and infinitely dense? Schtitt’s.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Authors are monkeys who mean.”
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: “Do exactly as you please–if you still trust what seems to please you.”
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: “He imagined that the clock’s second hand possessed awareness and knew that it was a second hand and that its job was to around and around inside a circle of numbers forever at the same slow unvarying machinelike rate...”
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: “The music’s still going, going absolutely nowhere, like Philip Glass on Quaaludes.”
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: “It is also lonely on a level that cannot be conveyed... If a person in physical pain has a hard time attending to anything except that pain, a clinically depressed person cannot even perceive any other person or thing as independent of the universal pain that is digesting her cell by cell.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Francophones are never impressed that anyone else can speak French.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “These worst mornings with cold floors and hot windows and merciless light – the soul’s certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheet.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The library, and step on it!”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think TV promulgates the idea that good art is just art which makes people like and depend on the vehicle that brings them the art.”
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: “That what appears to be egoism so often isn’t.”
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: “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: “This appetite to choose death by pleasure if it is available to choose – this appetite of your people unable to choose appetites, this is the death.”
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: “People, unless they’re paying attention, tend to confuse fanciness with intelligence or authority.”
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.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The father of Ruth van Cleve’s child, she reports, is under the protection and care of the Norfolk County Correctional Authority, awaiting sentencing for what Ruth van Cleve describes several times as operating a pharmaceutical company without a license.”
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