Bret Easton Ellis launches broadside against David Foster Wallace
American Psycho author says Foster Wallace was ‘the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation’
David Foster Wallace, the critically acclaimed American writer who took his own life in 2008, has been described as “the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation” by American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis.
Ellis, no stranger to provoking controversy with his comments, laid into Foster Wallace on Twitter this morning, calling him “a fraud”, and “the best example of a contemporary male writer lusting for a kind of awful greatness that he simply wasn’t able to achieve”.
According to Zadie Smith Foster Wallace “was an actual genius”. Dave Eggers believes his writing is “world-changing”, and the Booker-longlisted novelist Ned Beauman wrote last week that today’s novelists must try “to work out how in a million years we might ever hope to absorb the magnificent advances and expansions Wallace offered to the form”.
But “Saint David Foster Wallace”, according to Ellis, is read by “fools”: “a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullshit package”.
The late author, who took his own life in 2008, is the subject of a new biography by DT Max, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. Ellis told his 300,000-odd Twitter followers that he was in the middle of reading the book, and ” OMG is the solemnity of the David Foster Wallace myth on a purely literary level borderline sickening”.
"Anyone who finds David Foster Wallace a literary genius has got to be included in the, Literary Doucebag-Fools Pantheon [sic]," said Ellis. "David Foster Wallace carried around a literary pretentiousness that made me embarrassed to have any kind of ties to the publishing scene … I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation."