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Palgrave Macmillan

A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies

ISBN 9780230338111
Publication Date March 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century

Criticism of the work of David Foster Wallace has tended to be atomistic, focusing on a single aspect of individual works. A Companion to the Work of David Foster Wallace is designed as a professional study of all of Wallace's creative work. With essays written by both top scholars in the field and exciting newcomers, the volume is anchored by a set of essays that provide detailed readings of each of his major works of fiction, including three novels and three story collections. Interwoven through these half-dozen single-text studies are thematic-based essays that address larger segments of Wallace's achievement via an eclectic range of critical environments, including mathematics, the spatial turn in contemporary criticism, gender theory, the legacy of American Pragmatism, and the emergent field of post-postmodern literary studies.

Marshall Boswell is Professor and Chair of the department of English at Rhodes College, USA. He is the author of Understanding David Foster Wallace, John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion, Trouble with Girls, a short story collection, and Alternative Atlanta, a novel. He served as a guest editor for a two-part special issue of Studies in the Novel devoted to Wallace's work as a novelist.
Stephen J. Burn is Associate Professor of English at Northern Michigan University, USA. He is the author of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide and Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism, the editor of Conversations with David Foster Wallace, and the co-editor of Intersections: Essays on Richard Powers. He is currently editing a volume of David Foster Wallace's letters

1. Almost a Novel: The Broom of the System; Patrick O'Donnell
2. A Fiction of Response: Girl with Curious Hair in Context; Kasia Boddy
3. David Foster Wallace and the Mathematics of Infinity; Roberto Natalini
4. "Webs of Nerves Pulsing and Firing': Infinite Jest and the Science of Mind; Stephen J. Burn
5. Location's Location: Placing David Foster Wallace; Paul Quinn
6. Mediated Immediacy in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Mary K. Holland
7. '…': Language, Gender, and Modes of Power in the Work of David Foster Wallace; Claire Hayes-Brady
8. 'The Constant Monologue Inside Your Head': Oblivion and the Nightmare of Consciousness; Marshal Boswell
9. 'The Chains of Not Choosing': Free Will and Faith in William James and David Foster Wallace; David H. Evans
10. The Pale King, or, The White Visitation; Brian McHale
11. The Novel After David Foster Wallace; Andrew Hoberek

Kasia Boddy, Cambridge University, UK
David H. Evans, Dalhousie University, USA
Claire Hayes Brady, Trinity College Dublin, UK
Andrew Hoberek, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA
Mary Holland, SUNY New Paltz, USA
Brian McHale, Ohio State University, USA
Roberto Natalini, Università di Roma, Italy
Patrick O'Donnell, Michigan State University, USA
Paul Quinn, freelance writer


"A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies' academic rigour is a welcome contribution to the study of this most influential of contemporary U.S. writers." - 49th Parallel
"A major collection on the work of David Foster Wallace, with essential contributions on his place in American literary history. Boswell and Burn present a stellar line-up of Wallace specialists, some of whom finally tackle issues such as gender and the importance of the Midwest." - Luc Herman, Professor of Literature, University of Antwerp, Belgium
"Incisive and wide-ranging, this volume assembles some of the best critics at work today for a fascinating analysis of David Foster Wallace's writing. Alternating between fresh readings of individual texts and provocative meditations on the subjects that so occupied Wallace himself, these essays testify to Wallace's brilliance and profound influence on contemporary literature. Burn and Boswell have assembled a collection essential for anyone - from the beginning student to the serious scholar - who wants to understand more about Wallace's remarkable literary achievement." - Timothy Melley, Professor of English and Director of the Miami University Humanities Center, USA and author of The Covert Sphere: Secrecy, Fiction, and the National Security State
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