Posts Tagged ‘David Foster Wallace’


Considering David Foster Wallace’s lobster

March 17, 2009

consider-the-lobsterI’ve been reading a bit about the late writer David Foster Wallace lately. I haven’t yet read his novels but have been moved and challenged by various remarks he has made  about fiction and essay-writing before he committed suicide last year, finally unable to endure his deep depression any longer. (The following stuff is doubly interesting when one learns that mental suffering – and the question of how to live a moral life – were so burdensome for Foster Wallace for so many years. )

Among his essays is this excellent piece he wrote for American Gourmet magazine on attending the Maine Lobster Festival in 2004. Consider the Lobster also became the title piece in a later collection of essays, which is now on my must-buy list.

The Gourmet essay is essential reading for omnivores like me who love all kinds of food – including animals – and yet like to pride themselves on their awareness of the complexity of food and its cultural meanings and echoes beyond the act of stuffing fuel in the gob and digesting it. Because if one has an ounce of honest integrity, eating animals must be problematic. Consider the Lobster is Foster Wallace’s very readable exploration of the issue of cooking a live lobster and whether the creature feels pain.

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