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DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, IN HIS OWN WORDS

IN MEMORIAM | September 19th 2008 The world of letters has lost a giant. We have felt nourished by the mournful graspings of sites dedicated to his memory ("He was my favourite" ~ Zadie Smith), and we grieve for the books we will never see. But perhaps the best tribute is one he wrote himself ... Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE This is the commencement address he gave to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. (If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. Here's another didactic little story. Everyone here has done this, of course. But it will be. You get the idea. "This is water."

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