The Death of Conrad Unger: Some Conjectures Regarding Parasitosis and Associated Suicide Behavior

The death by suicide of Gary J Shipley’s close friend, Conrad Unger (writer, theorist and amateur entomologist), has prompted him to confront not only the cold machinery of self-erasure, but also its connections to the literary life and notions surrounding psychological bewitchment, to revaluate in both fictional and entomological terms just what it is that drives writers like Unger to take their own lives as a matter of course, as if that end had been there all along, knowing, waiting. Like Gérard de Nerval, David Foster Wallace, Ann Quin and Virginia Woolf before him, Unger was not merely a writer who chose to end his life, but a writer whose work appeared forged from the knowledge of that event’s temporary postponement.