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During this time, he produced two long novels, three collections of short stories, two books of essays and reporting, and “Everything and More,” a history of infinity. In “The Depressed Person,” a short story about an unhappy narcissistic young woman—included in Wallace’s 1999 collection, “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”—he wrote, “Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Tofranil, Wellbutrin, Elavil, Metrazol in combination with unilateral ECT (during a two-week voluntary in-patient course of treatment at a regional Mood Disorders clinic), Parnate both with and without lithium salts, Nardil both with and without Xanax.None had delivered any significant relief from the pain and feelings of emotional isolation that rendered the depressed person’s every waking hour an indescribable hell on earth.” He never published a word about his own mental illness.

“I want to author things that both restructure worlds and make living people feel stuff,” he wrote to his editor Michael Pietsch while he was working on his second novel, “Infinite Jest,” which Little, Brown published in 1996.

He knew that such proclamations made him seem a holy fool. in be[ing] willing to sort of die in order to move the reader, somehow.

“I’m sad and empty as I always am, when I finish something long,” Wallace wrote to Franzen, shortly before the book’s publication.

“I don’t think it’s very good—some clipping called a published excerpt feverish and not entirely satisfying, which goes a long way toward describing the experience of writing the thing.”Wallace began to doubt the aspect of his work that many readers admired most: his self-consciously maximalist style.

There was also Wallace’s outsized passion for the printed word at a time when it looked like it needed champions.

His novels were overstuffed with facts, humor, digressions, silence, and sadness.

He conjured the world in two-hundred-word sentences that mixed formal diction and street slang, technicalese and plain speech; his prose slid forward with a controlled lack of control that mimed thought itself.

“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant,” he wrote in “Good Old Neon,” a story from 2001.

For many months, Wallace had been in a deep depression.

The condition had first been diagnosed when he was an undergraduate at Amherst College, in the early eighties; ever since, he had taken medication to manage its symptoms.

He was known for endlessly fracturing narratives and for stem-winding sentences adorned with footnotes that were themselves stem-winders.

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