If the endlessly self-analytical Hamlet had been a writer (aside from that "speech of some twelve or fifteen lines" he composes to insert in "The Murder of Gonzago," the play within the play), he would have written far more like Wallace than like Shakespeare.
And this is David Foster Wallace on how we can try and keep fiction relevant in our media-saturated time -- if you replace "fiction" with "classical music" and "reader" with "listener", it's a pretty good manifesto for classical music, too:
You worry about making it structurally and technically cutting edge: involuted in the right ways, making the appropriate intertextual references, making it look smart. Not really caring about whether you’re communicating with a reader who cares something about that feeling in the stomach which is why we read. Then, the other end of it is very crass, cynical, commercial pieces of fiction that are done in a formulaic way — essentially television on the page — that manipulate the reader, that set out grotesquely simplified stuff in a childishly riveting way. What’s weird is that I see these two sides fight with each other and really they both come out of the same thing, which is a contempt for the reader, an idea that literature’s current marginalization is the reader’s fault. The project that’s worth trying is to do stuff that has some of the richness and challenge and emotional and intellectual difficulty of avant-garde literary stuff, stuff that makes the reader confront things rather than ignore them, but to do that in such a way that it’s also pleasurable to read. The reader feels like someone is talking to him rather than striking a number of poses. Part of it has to do with living in an era when there’s so much entertainment available, genuine entertainment, and figuring out how fiction is going to stake out its territory in that sort of era.
"That feeling in the stomach which is why we read" -- or why we listen to music.
We're all dumber, now that you're gone.