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May 27th, 2010 / 2:14 pm
Presses

David Foster Wallace’s undergrad thesis

Ok, the book length interview was interesting, and the uncompleted final novel in near-form makes sense (and is compelling, even in its incompleteness), but this, this, is exploitation, and a bad idea:

Columbia University Press is publishing David Foster Wallace’s undergrad thesis next year? [more info at GalleyCat].

Undergrad thesis? I’m sorry, I love the man, and I am interested in marginalia of great minds, but this to me seems not only too much, but just incorrect. Undergrad papers, particularly ones called things like Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will, are almost always embarrassing, and even if they have some merit, don’t really belong in a body of work, unless, you know, the author is alive and willing to OK that thing to come into the world. It hadn’t cropped up since his college years for a reason.

Though I am sure I will purchase and read it (as seems their point here), I think this is a big shame on you waiting to happen. God knows if anyone ever saw what I wrote as undergrad I’d want a fork in the eye, even if I was gone. I can’t imagine that there are many who wouldn’t. Clearly, from the design of the cover of this, these people have no taste. Let a man rest.

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