Read David Foster Wallace on How ‘Sickly Searingly’ Jealous He Was of Jonathan Franzen


We already know about the complicated friendships between David Foster Wallace and his famous friends — Mary Karr, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Mark Leyner — but in this excerpt from D.T. Max’s forthcoming biography Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace , we get a glimpse into a Wallace wracked by self-doubt and intense jealousy, which, considering what we know about him now, is completely fascinating and desperately sad. Writing to Franzen after blowing him off, Wallace explained his behavior:

“Right now I am a pathetic and very confused young man, a failed writer at 28, who is so jealous, so sickly searingly envious of you and Vollmann and Mark Leyner and even David F–kwad Leavitt and any young man who is right now producing pages with which he can live … that I consider suicide a reasonable — if not at this point a desirable — option with respect to the whole wretched problem.”

It’s amazing to us to see how intensely Wallace felt about his own failure — this written on the veritable brink of Infinite Jest — when he would turn out to be arguably the greatest and definitely the most legendary of the bunch. After all, from what we’ve seen, Franzen should be jealous of him. Read more from the excerpt at The Daily Beast.