David Foster Wallace’s democratic normality
David Foster Wallace’s “E Unibus Pluram” is an account of the prevalence of destructive irony at the end of the twentieth century. Trying to break free from the solipsism brought about by postmodern relativism, Wallace embraced sincerity as the cornerstone of the zeitgeist of the new millennium. This article offers an analysis of two salient sources of influence that could be considered as inspiration for Wallace’s alternative to postmodern irony: American transcendentalism and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. It does so with the intention of furthering the understanding of the cultural significance of the work of the author for the generation of writers that followed in his wake, and to demonstrate how the recovery of Romantic ideals may be the key to map out the nature of the paradigm shift to post-postmodernism.
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