I can’t say how his death makes me feel: he may have had the words, but I don’t.
So here’s a true fact to embellish his reputation (not that it needs much embellishment):
He wrote two senior theses at Amherst. A creative thesis in English that was his first novel, “The Broom of the System,” and a philosophy thesis on fatalism. Both were judged to be Summa Cum Laude theses. The opinion of those who looked at the philosophy thesis was that it, too, with just a few tweaks to flesh out the scholarly apparatus, was a publishable piece of creative philosophy investigating the interplay between time and modality in original ways.
That much is probably common knowledge. Here’s what is not so widely known: Though theses normally take a whole school year to write, DFW had complete drafts of his theses by Christmas, and they were finished by spring break. He spent the last quarter of his senior year reading, commenting on, and generally improving the theses of all his friends and acquaintances. It was a great year for theses at Amherst.
Right now you can read everything Wallace ever wrote for Harper’s for free online, or check out the one thing he wrote that has always stuck in my mind: “Federer as Religious Experience” (from the August 20th, 2006 issue of the New York Times)(he was an avid tennis enthusiast).