Arts, Culture & Media

An appreciation of David Foster Wallace

UB says news of Wallace's death came as a surprise: it's an abstract mourning of his death. (You've been working on this translation for five years now, what has kept you with it?) The complexity of it all. His language, his vocabulary�he uses more words than Shakespeare and it's fun to construct that in German. (Is it hard to make his American perspective understood in German?) Yes, it is. he's very difficult, not just his words, but his sentences are elaborate and I have to reproduce this complexity in German. (The way he wrote, did it reveal to you anything that shaped your view of America?) It broadened my perspective: it's so bitter, so dark. �Infinite Jest� is a huge critique of entertainment in America, and it relegates the idea of the pursuit of happiness to a different place than what most associate it with. I didn't see the States like that before, and this comes off to me as a plausible view of the U.S. (What is lost with Wallace's death?) For German readers, it's one of the most unique voices from U.S. we lose a great writer and we all lose a great political commentator.

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