The Pale King was published posthumously in 2011. The book was an unfinished novel written by David Foster Wallace and found by his wife after his death. The book is haphazard, as is Wallace's style. He worked on it for over a decade. Most of the stories follow the employees of the Internal Revenue Service […]
David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace was born on February 21 st, 1962 in Ithaca, New York. The child of two professors, his family moved around often. Wallace was a regionally ranked junior tennis player and majored in English and philosophy while attending Amherst College. It was his honors thesis that he wrote while attending the college that later became his first novel "The Broom of the System" (1987).
Wallace graduated summa cum laude in 1985 and became committed to writing as a career. He obtained a Masters of Fine Arts and a degree in creative writing in 1987 shortly after his first novel was published. "Broom" received national attention and critical praise and launched Wallace's career as a satirist and a postmodernist.
After finishing college, Wallace began attending graduate school at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. While working there he began writing his most well-known and well-received novel, "Infinite Jest" which was published in 1996.
Wallace continued writing while working as a professor and later moved to Claremont, California to teach at Pomona College. In 1997, Wallace was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction for one of the stories in his short story collection "Brief Interviews".
Wallace also wrote many non-fiction works, including a series of essays titled, "A supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" in 1997 and "Everything and More" focusing on the work of 19th-century German mathematician Georg Cantor. Wallace reported on the September 11th attacks and John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign for the magazine Rolling Stone.
In 2004, Wallace married the painter Karen L. Green. Throughout his life, Wallace struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, institutionalization and outbursts of inappropriate sexual behavior.
To cope with these issues, Wallace took anti-depressant medication which caused him to suffer terrible side effects. Wallace also underwent many different types of therapy including electroconvulsive therapy. On September 12th, 2008, Wallace hanged himself in his garage after suffering a resurgence of his depression that his medication didn't seem to be affecting.
After his death, his wife posthumously published his unfinished manuscript, 'The Pale King' after compiling the manuscript and notes from his computer.
In March 2010 Wallace's personal papers and archives were purchased by the University of Texas at Austin and now reside at the Harry Ransom Center at the college.