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D.F.W. has a peculiar writing style. For example, in his essay, Authority and American Usage, he makes use of a colloquial form of writing which is often repeated in his other essays. An example of this concerns his use of footnotes - the essay has 81 of them, and sometimes even footnotes have footnotes. This makes the essay something of a wild ride to read.

An example more localized to Authority and American Usage is the colloquial use of titles. Though they draw an ironic point, it's very typical to see this in DFW's writing elsewhere:

THESIS STATEMENT FOR THE WHOLE ARTICLE

COROLLARY TO THESIS STATEMENT FOR THE WHOLE ARTICLE

INTERPOLATION POTENTIALLY DESCRIPTIVIST-LOOKING EXAMPLE OF SOME GRAMMATICAL ADVANTAGES OF A NON-STANDARD DIALECT THAT THIS REVIEWER ACTUALLY KNOWS ABOUT FIRSTHAND

ANOTHER KIND OF USAGE-WARS RELATED EXAMPLE, THIS ONE WITH A PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON DIALECT AS A VECTOR OF SELF-PRESENTATION VIA POLITENESS

...and so on and so forth. (This essay is a treasure to read.)

He's even, in some other places, gone so far as to embed footnotes inside of boxes inside pages, and putting more footnotes inside those boxes, up to three or four layers deep, such as in the essay, Host.

Did DFW ever write about where he drew inspiration for his style? Was this sort of colloquial-academic prose unique to the way he writes?

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Post-modern authors from the generation (or two) of authors preceding David Foster Wallace are commonly cited as his influences (this interview for example) with regard to his writing style. The usual suspects generally include Don DeLillo (Wallace and DeLillo were correspondants according to Every Love Story is a Ghost Story), Thomas Pynchon and William Gaddis. Pynchon and Gaddis specifically are known for intricate and long sentence structure, similar to Wallace's work in Infinite Jest and elsewhere.

As for the footnotes specifically, my only knowledge of Wallace discussing them is not in the context of inspiration, but purpose. Wallace described the rationale for their usage in a letter to his editor, Michael Pietsch (quoted from this New Yorker article):

1) allowing a discursive, authorial intrusive style w/o Finneganizing the story,
2) mimic the information-flood and data-triage I expect’d be an even bigger part of US life 15 years hence.
3) have a lot more technical/medical verisimilitude
4) allow/make the reader go literally physically ‘back and forth’ in a way that perhaps cutely mimics some of the story’s thematic concerns . . .
5) feel emotionally like I’m satisfying your request for compression of text without sacrificing enormous amounts of stuff.” He also said, “I pray this is nothing like hypertext, but it seems to be interesting and the best way to get the exfoliating curve-line plot I wanted.

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