David Foster Wallace's (edited) thesis coming to a bookstore near you
With his final novel, The Pale King, due for an April 2011 release, David Foster Wallace’s published posthumous canon continues to grow. EW has confirmed that Columbia University Press will be releasing an edited version of his undergraduate thesis as Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will. The 240-pager will include his essay, titled “Richard Taylor’s ‘Fatalism’ and the Semantics of Physical Modality,” the original “Fatalism” article, and a collection of other writings that Wallace sourced–and for anyone who’s read Infinite Jest, you already know how much the man loved his footnotes.
“It’s like a giant conversation,” says CUP publicity director Meredith Howard.
The publishing house finalized a contract for the work just a few months after his Sept. 2008 death. According to Howard, Wendy Lochner, CUP’s acquiring editor for philosophy, had been discussing the thesis with a former CUNY professor, Steven Cahn, and emailed Wallace’s agent just as James Ryerson’s essay on the author was about to run in the New York Times. Both Cahn and Ryerson worked on Fate, Time, and Language–Cahn as co-editor with Maureen Eckert and Ryerson as author of the book’s introduction. Eckert has also launched a website to go along with the book.