Both Flesh and Not: Essays

David Foster Wallace. Little, Brown, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-18237-9
Now that Wallace’s unfinished novel The Pale King has been published posthumously, the inevitable trawl of his uncollected writings may begin in earnest and, as is the case here, it will inevitably yield both dingers and duds. His writings on subjects ranging from the U.S. Open to Zbigniew Herbert, the AIDS virus to Terminator 2, display, yet again, Wallace’s genuine and infectious love for obsessive human endeavors as disparate as pro tennis, analytic philosophy, and pure math. However, for all the gems, a few essays are simply too slight to merit inclusion, while others such as “Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young” have the sort of precociously earnest tone that makes one wonder how happy Wallace would have been about their inclusion. Despite this, the opening essay “Federer Both Flesh And Not” by itself is worth the price of admission. If to that one adds “The Nature of the Fun” (his essay on writing fiction) and “Deciderization 2007—A Special Report” (his introduction to The Best American Essays 2007), the collection already beats most competitors hands down. There is a rare pleasure in reading Wallace at his best. As he writes of Roger Federer: “Genius is not replicable. Inspiration, though, is contagious and multiform.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 11/06/2012
Show other formats
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-316-18238-6
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-14-104675-4
Hardcover - 484 pages - 978-0-316-22411-6
Book - 9 pages - 978-1-61969-263-3
Hardcover - 310 pages - 978-0-316-21470-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-21469-8
Book - 978-1-61969-989-2
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-14-194315-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.