Buddhist philosophy in the work of David Foster Wallace
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This dissertation is about the ways David Foster Wallace's writing expresses Buddhist philosophy. Because Buddhism is a vast subject, sometimes I conflate several traditional "Buddhisms" into a common-denominator form, while other times I investigate Wallace's work through Zen Buddhism specifically. By close-reading his work in chronological order--starting with The Broom of the System, Girl With Curious Hair, "The Empty Plenum," Infinite Jest, "Roger Federer as Religious Experience," "The Suffering Channel," and The Pale King--I analyze the ways in which Wallace's writing focused on questions of the self-awareness of linguistic expression, the contemporary causes of addiction and suffering and their implied remedy, the ethical and moral implications of living out of self-consciousness, the principles of mutual causality, "co-arising" and ecological well-being, and the discernment of multiple forms of awareness, all of which are foundational concerns shared with Buddhist philosophy.