Hardcover release next week on May 10th 2016:
String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis: A Library of America Special Publication, fresh (physical) release of Wallace's tennis essays with an introduction by John Jeremiah Sullivan.
A version of the introduction was published in The New Yorker recently as, David Foster Wallace's Perfect Game:[...]
David Foster Wallace wrote about tennis because life gave it to him—he had played the game well at the junior level—and because he was a writer who in his own way made use of wilder days, turning relentlessly in his work to the stuff of his own experience. But the fact of the game in his biography came before any thought of its use as material. At least I assume that’s the case. It can be amazing how early in life some writers figure out what they are and start to see their lives as stories that can be controlled. It is perhaps not far-fetched to imagine Wallace’s noticing early on that tennis is a good sport for literary types and purposes. It draws the obsessive and brooding. It is perhaps the most isolating of games. Even boxers have a corner, but in professional tennis it is a rules violation for your coach to communicate with you beyond polite encouragement, and spectators are asked to keep silent while you play. Your opponent is far away, or, if near, is indifferently hostile. It may be as close as we come to physical chess, or a kind of chess in which the mind and body are at one in attacking essentially mathematical problems. So, a good game not just for writers but for philosophers, too. The perfect game for Wallace.
Continue reading David Foster Wallace's Perfect Game, and if you wish support this website by pre-ordering String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis: A Library of America Special Publication from Amazon.