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Bret Easton Ellis slams David Foster Wallace on Twitter

A decades-long literary feud rears its head again as Bret Easton Ellis uses a new bio of David Foster Wallace as an excuse for trash-talking.

By Husna Haq / September 10, 2012

Anyone familiar with Ellis knows he’s no stranger to the shock-and-awe method of courting controversy, as when he claimed that women are unable to direct movies and a gay actor should not star in 'Fifty Shades of Grey.'

Luca Bruno/AP


Think David Foster Wallace is untouchable?

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Think again. “American Psycho” author Bret Easton Ellis tore into the late author of the critically acclaimed “Infinite Jest” and “The Pale King” on Twitter last week, and in true Ellis fashion, he didn’t hold back.

“Reading D.T. Max’s bio I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation,” Ellis tweeted. “David Foster Wallace was so needy, so conservative, so in need of fans – that I find the halo of sentimentality surrounding him embarrassing.” In several more tweets, he continued, “DFW is the best example of a contemporary male writer lusting for a kind of awful greatness that he simply wasn’t able to achieve. A fraud.”

Ellis’s comments came on the heels of a new biography of the late author, D.T. Max’s “Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace.” (See our review of the biography here.)

In the midst of reading the bio of Wallace, who took his own life in 2008 after a lifelong battle with depression, Ellis told his 300,000 Twitter followers, “OMG is the solemnity of the David Foster Wallace myth on a purely literary level sickening.”

He then turned his attention to DFW fans, saying: "Saint David Foster Wallace: a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullsh** package. Fools.”

Who does Ellis think he is “being exceptionally hostile and ungenerous toward a tragically tormented writer who, having hanged himself, is in no position to defend himself,” writes’s Gerald Howard (who, incidentally, edited both Ellis and Wallace when they were starting out).

For starters, anyone familiar with Ellis knows he’s no stranger to the shock-and-awe method of courting controversy.


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