David Foster Wallace Dead at 46

Last Updated: September 14, 2008

Just a few days ago, I was telling an activist friend that she needed to read David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster. Since it was first published in Gourmet magazine, I’ve viewed that essay as one of the greatest contributions to the animal rights literature. Tonight, there’s word that Wallace has hanged himself.

About eight years ago, I caught a presentation by Wallace in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A woman in the audience had said she mailed him a note and he had been kind enough to respond with a card. Given Wallace’s stature as a writer, that simple gesture really impressed me.

Brad Delp, who committed suicide about eighteen months ago, was largely responsible for my deciding to give up meat. I’ve long viewed Wallace as being one of the greatest writers of our time, and was thrilled when he used his enormous gifts to write his long and influential essay on the ethics of eating lobster. Having lost both these talents to suicide is sadder than I am able say. Link.