David Foster Wallace, novelist, essayist, humorist and MacAuthur Grant recipient was found hanged Friday in his Pomona, California home. Compared to Thomas Pynchon and John Irving, Wallace had recently revised and expanded his essay, "Up Simba" about his travels on the road with John McCain during the candidate’s 2000 campaign for president, into the book "McCain’s Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express With John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope."
In the book’s introduction, Wallace explains that when approached by Rolling Stone to write about the candidate of his choice, he decided on the Arizona Republican after seeing him on Charlie Rose, sensing McCain was "either incredibly forthright and honest or else just insane."
But in a 2008 interview with the Wall Street Jornal, quoted by timesonlineuk.com, Wallace found his subject significantly altered, and not for the better. "“McCain himself has obviously changed; his flipperoos and weaselings on Roe v. Wade, campaign finance, the toxicity of lobbyists, Iraq timetables, etc. are just some of what make him a less interesting, more depressing political figure now — for me, at least.”
The author of "Infinite Jest" a 1079-page work of non-linear fiction full of footnotes and literary references, Wallace received a so-called "genius grant" form the MacArthur Foundation in 1997. His other other work included his debut novel "The Broom of the System," and several collections of short stories and essays.
For the past six years, Wallace had taught creative writing at Pomona College where he was named the first Roy E. Disney professor of creative writing. He was on leave this semester.
"He was a fabulous teacher," Gary Kates the college’s dean said Saturday in an interview with the . "He was hands-on with his students. He cared deeply about them. . . . He was a jewel on the faculty, and we deeply appreciated everything he gave to the college."
In a 1996 profile in the New York Times Magazine, Frank Bruni wrote, "Wallace is to literature what Robin Williams or perhaps Jim Carrey is to live comedy: a creator so maniacally energetic and amused with himself that he often follows his riffs out into the stratosphere, where he orbits all alone."