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David Foster Wallace’s personal files

NEWSWEEK takes a tour through the just-released archives of David Foster Wallace. Included in the collection are some of his teaching materials, some heavily annotated books from his personal library, an unfinished novel called The Pale King, and a creative writing assignment about an anthropomorphic tea kettle he penned when he was nine.

While many children are capable of conjuring imaginative tales, the grade-school Wallace has an unusual empathy for the adult double-bind of finding purpose in a job that also brings misery. The kettle hopes that a solution (“I come to you for advice”) may be found through the act of writing. All of this, heartbreakingly, is reminiscent of Wallace himself, the MacArthur-winning author of complex but emotionally gripping fictions such as Infinite Jest, who, after a lifetime spent battling depression, committed suicide in 2008.

Be sure to click the interactive link for a closer look at these remains.

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