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David Foster Wallace and 20 years of Infinite Jest

By Megan Barnard

Twenty years ago, in February of 1996, Little, Brown and Company published David Foster Wallace’s (1962–2008) novel Infinite Jest. It was a bold undertaking for the firm to publish a complex, challenging novel that spans over 1,000 pages and contains hundreds of endnotes, many quite lengthy and all printed in very small type. The sheer size of the book required that it be sold for $30, an unorthodox price for any novel, let alone a second novel by a young, up-and-coming author. Read more

Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres: Influencias literarias en la obra de Gabriel García Márquez

By Megan Barnard

Alguna vez  Gabriel García Márquez comentó que creía que la principal razón por la cual los escritores leen las novelas de otros, era para aprender cómo las escribieron.  Para el laureado con este Premio Nobel los libros tenían una importancia tremenda, y con frecuencia escribía o hablaba de los autores que más habían influido en él. Read more

Enhancing the Gabriel García Márquez papers

By Megan Barnard

When the papers of a renowned author like Gabriel García Márquez arrive at the Ransom Center, there’s always a sense of excitement among staff, who take great pride in being able to preserve and make accessible materials that are unavailable anywhere else and that offer students and scholars entirely new insights into the author’s life and work. When the acquisition of such a notable Read more

Realzando los documentos de Gabriel García Márquez

By Megan Barnard

Cuando el Harry Ransom Center recibe archivos de un autor tan famoso como Gabriel García Márquez, se suscita cierta emoción en el personal, el cual se enorgullece de estar capacitado para preservar y permitir el acceso a materiales que son únicos en el mundo y que permiten nuevas e insospechadas perspectivas tanto a estudiantes como académicos interesados en  la vida y obra del autor. Read more

Ransom Center acquires Jon R. Jewett collection of Elizabeth Hardwick materials

By Megan Barnard

The Ransom Center recently acquired a collection of letters and photographs relating to novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick (1916–2007), co-founder of The New York Review of Books and one of the most brilliant literary critics of the late-twentieth century. The newly acquired material complements Elizabeth Hardwick’s archive, which she donated to the Ransom Center in 1991.

 

This new material was acquired from Jon R. Jewett, a personal friend of Hardwick—or “Lizzie,” as her closest friends called her. They met in Castine, Maine, in the early 1980s, where Hardwick had a summer residence that she once shared with her former husband, the poet Robert Lowell.

 

The collection includes more than 20 handwritten letters from Hardwick to Jewett spanning their three decades of friendship. The letters showcase Hardwick’s sharp wit and are filled with details of her daily activities, reflections on current events, and kind words of advice for her friend. In a letter dated January 21, 1991, she writes of the Gulf War, “The situation is really bizarre indeed, no jobs and a war that is not over in a week, as expected. I can’t tear myself away from the TV, but I suppose the worst thing will be that it is all to become repetition, nothing new happening and so the great happening, the war itself, just becomes another little repetitive show.”

 

On April 10, 1994, in a letter peppered with typos, she offers valuable advice about editing and proofreading but self-reflexively notes, “I can’t proofread my own work. It’s embarrassing how many mistakes there are in something I have read more than a dozen times.” She concludes, “I am aware of all the mistakes in this letter, but it is a rush and even the typing room is such a mess I can hardly see the page.”

 

The correspondence in the collection is supplemented with a number of photographs and candid snapshots—including one of a frail but smiling Lizzie taken just days before her death in 2007.

 

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