Author David Foster Wallace dies

Best known for 1996 novel 'Infinite Jest'

David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46.

Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department.

Wallace taught creative writing and English at nearby Pomona College.

“He cared deeply for his students and transformed the lives of many young people,” said Dean Gary Kates. “It’s a great loss to our teaching faculty.”

Wallace’s first novel, “The Broom of the System,” gained national attention in 1987 for its ambition and offbeat humor. The New York Times said the 24-year-old author “attempts to give us a portrait, through a combination of Joycean word games, literary parody and zany picaresque adventure, of a contemporary America run amok.”

Published in 1996, “Infinite Jest” cemented Wallace’s reputation as a major American literary figure. The 1,000-plus-page tome, praised for its complexity and dark wit, topped many best-of lists. Time Magazine named “Infinite Jest” in its issue of the “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.”

Wallace received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 1997.

In 2002, Wallace was hired to teach at Pomona in a tenured English Department position endowed by Roy E. Disney. Kates said when the school began searching for the ideal candidate, Wallace was the first person considered.

“The committee said, ‘we need a person like David Foster Wallace.’ They said that in the abstract,” Kates said. “When he was approached and accepted, they were heads over heels. He was really the ideal person for the position.”

Wallace’s short fiction was published in Esquire, GQ, Harper’s, The New Yorker and the Paris Review. Collections of his short stories were published as “Girl With Curious Hair” and “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.”

He wrote nonfiction for several publications, including an essay on the U.S. Open for Tennis magazine and a profile of the director David Lynch for Premiere.

Born in Ithaca, N.Y., Wallace attended Amherst College and the University of Arizona.

More Scene

  • TBS 'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee'

    Samantha Bee, Molly Ringwald Discuss #MeToo, Morgan Freeman at 'Full Frontal' FYC

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

  • The Paley Center for Media Presents

    Endemol Shine's Cris Abrego Shares Hope for Bilingual Programming at Paley Center

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

  • 'Adrift' film premiere

    'Adrift' Team Talks Making a 'Female Superhero' on the Open Ocean

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Why Brian Cox Says Wealthy Family Drama 'Succession' Is Both Timeless and Timely

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

  • Gracie Awards

    Rita Moreno Celebrates Female Empowerment at Gracie Awards: 'It's About Damn Time'

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

  • global women's rights awards

    Nina Shaw, Laura Dern Stress Importance of Intersectionality in Time’s Up Movement

    David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel “Infinite Jest,” was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department. Wallace taught creative […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content