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Top 500 David Foster Wallace Quotes (2023 Update)
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David Foster Wallace Quote: “Like most religious mathematicians from Pythagoras to Godel, Bolzano believes that math is the Language of God and that profound metaphysical truths can be derived and proved mathematically.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Time wasn’t passing so much as kneeling beside him in a torn tee-shirt disclosing the rodent-nosed tits of a man who disdains the care of his once-comely bod.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s painful to believe that the would-be “public servants” you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously and with such a straight face that you know they’ve just got to believe you’re an idiot. So who wouldn’t yawn and turn away, trade apathy and cynicism for the hurt of getting treated with contempt?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The far north of Manitoba. Forbidding wastelands. The center of nothing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Writing fiction takes me out of time. I sit down and the clock will not exist for me for a few hours. That’s probably as close to immortal as we’ll ever get.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He considered getting up to check the color of the bong he’d be using but decided that obsessive checking and convulsive movements could compromise the atmosphere of casual calm he needed to maintain while he waited, protruding but not moving, for the woman he’d met at a design session for his agency’s small campaign for her small theater company’s new Wedekind festival, while he waited for this woman, with whom he’d had intercourse twice, to honor her casual promise.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “And he wishes, in the cold quiet of his archer’s heart, that he himself could feel the intensity of their reconciliations as strongly as he feels that of their battles.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “You’re supposed to be strong enough to exert some control over how much you want to hide, and you’re so desperate to feel some kind of control that you settle for the appearance of control.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “What if in fact there were ever only two really distinct individual people walking around back there in history’s mist? That all difference descends from this difference? The whole and the partial. The damaged and the intact. The deformed and the paralyzingly beautiful. The insane and the attendant. The hidden and the blindingly open. The performer and the audience. No Zen-type One, always rather Two, one upside-down in a convex lens.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The examiners call their children their little Line 40s. That’s of course where you enter your CCDC from Form 2441 on the 1040. Some of the children were playing Collections. Near the horseshoe courts. Some of the older children. Liens on the toys, a jeopardy assessment and seizure of some of the smaller childrens’ plates; there was some of the usual crying.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “You just never quite occurred out there, kid.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Naive people are, more or less by definition, unaware that they’re naive.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Another thing he laid in when he’d committed himself to one last marijuana vacation was petroleum jelly.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “You know those mass-market cartridges, for the masses? The ones that are so bad they’re somehow perversely good? This was worse than that.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It always seems to be important to have at least one person in the vicinity to hate.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “When he settles in with the tray and cartridge, the TP’s viewer’s digital display reads 1927h.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Alls – how it’s possible even the worst things that can happen to you can end up being positive factors in who you are.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The whole quantum setup ends up being embarrassing in the special way something pretentious is embarrassing when it’s also wrong.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The mother at thirty with face commencing to display the faint seams of the plan for the second face life had in store for her and which she feared would be her own mother’s.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “By the way, I do think that awareness is different from thinking. I am similar to most other people, I believe, in that I do not really do my most important thinking in large, intentional blocks where I sit down uninterrupted in a chair and know in advance what it is I’m going to think about... It doesn’t work like that for me.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It occurred to me that the movement of the amputated knob perfectly schematized what it would look like for someone to try to turn somersaults with one hand nailed to the floor. This was how I first became interested in the possibilities of annulation.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Lucien finally dies, rather a while after he’s quit shuddering like a clubbed muskie and seemed to them to die, as he finally sheds his body’s suit, Lucien finds his gut and throat again and newly whole, clean and unimpeded, and is free, catapulted over fans and the Convexity’s glass palisades at desperate speeds, soaring north, sounding a bell-clear and nearly maternal alarmed call-to-arms in all the world’s well-known tongues.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Breasts are uniformly zeppelinesque and in various perilous stages of semiconfinement.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He was unsure what the thing inside him was and was unprepared to commit himself to the course of action that would be required to explore the question.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “In other words, Cantor is able to show that real numbers themselves can serve as the limits of fundamental sequences of reals, meaning his system of definitions is self-enclosed and VIR-proof.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Aren’t there parts of ourselves that are just better left unfed?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He and Hal exchanged the very slight sorts of nods people use when they like each other past all need for politeness.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Is it showing off if you hate it?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “But it is not I the spy who have crept inside television’s boundaries. It is vice versa. Television, even the mundane little businesses of its production, has become my – our – own interior. And we seem a jaded, weary, but willing and above all knowledgeable Audience. And this knowledgeability utterly transforms the possibilities and hazards of “creativity” in television.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “There’s something elementally horrific about waking before dawn.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “All I’m saying is that it’s shortsighted to blame TV. It’s simply another symptom. TV didn’t invent our aesthetic childishness here any more than the Manhattan Project invented aggression.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I fear this feeling more than I fear anything, man. More than pain, or my mom dying, or environmental toxicity. Anything.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “She regarded the things that were important to me as her enemy, not realizing that they were, in fact, the “me” she seemed so jealously to covet.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Over half the admits to psych wards are things like cheerleaders who swallow two bottles of Mydol over a high-school breakup or gray lonely asexual depressing people rendered inconsolable by the death of a pet. The cathartic trauma of actually going in somewhere.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “One of the great Greek contributions to the very concept of mathematics was the conscious recognition and emphasis of the fact that mathematical entities are abstractions, ideas entertained by the mind and sharply distinguished from physical objects or pictures.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He has that rare spinal appreciation for beauty in the ordinary that nature seems to bestow on those who have no native words for what they see.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Dostoevski informs everybody; or he ought to.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He was trying to pay close attention to his surroundings as a way to avert thought and anxiety.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The inactive viewer’s screen is the color of way out over the Atlantic looking straight down on a cold day.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “His hands were no bigger than a four-year-old girl’s. It was surreal. This massive authoritative figure, with a huge red meaty face and thick walrus mustache and dewlaps and a neck that spilled over the rim of his shirt-collar, and his hands were tiny and pink and hairless and butt-soft, delicate as shells. The hands were the capper. I barely made it out of the office before it started.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The happy pleasure of the person alone, yes?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Your personal will is the web your disease sits and spins in. The will you call your own ceased to be yours as of who knows how many Substance-drenched years ago.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Every two or three generations the world gets vastly different, and the context in which you have to learn how to be a human being, or to have good relationships, or decide whether or not there is a God, or decide whether there’s such a thing as love, and whether it’s redemptive, become vastly different. And the structures with which you can communicate those dilemmas, or have characters struggle with them, seem to become appropriate and then inappropriate again and so on.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Like most North Americans of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he’s devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves. It’s hard to say for sure whether this is even exceptionally bad, this tendency.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Her expression is from Page 18 of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “To make a long story short, Cantorian set theory helps unify and clarify math in the sense that all mathematical entities can now be understood as fundamentally the same kind of thing-a set.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think the world divides neatly into those who are excited by the managed induction of terror and those who are not. I do not find terror exciting. I find it terrifying.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Certe cose non solo non possono essere insegnate, ma possono essere ritardate da altre cose che invece possono essere insegnate.”
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