New DFW Books: Both A Good Idea and Not


Both Flesh and Not, the latest posthumous David Foster Wallace book, has been released, and Rumpus pal Andrew Altschul has written an extensively titled essay about it for the Quarterly Conversation.

In it, he explores with a springy verbosity not unlike Wallace’s own the book’s strengths and shortcomings, the publisher’s motivations for releasing it, and the legacy with which Wallace left us. A preview:

But the essay’s obsolescence and its pique (elsewhere he refers to genre novelists as “prostitutes”) serve another purpose, in that they humanize the writer, demonstrating that he wasn’t always already the Olympically brilliant voice of his generation; he wasn’t sprung from the skull.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →