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Fellows Find: Infinite Jest at 20

By Daniel Sinykin

Dan Sinykin, a visiting assistant professor at Grinnell College, visited the Ransom Center during the summer of 2014 to research his dissertation After the Boom: Apocalypse and Economics in American Literature of the Neoliberal Period. Sinykin was the recipient of a dissertation fellowship.

 

On February 23, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest turns 20. The novel was an instant hit and made Wallace a literary superstar—a winning reception that began with an innovative hype campaign on the part of the publisher, Little, Brown, which sent a series of postcards to thousands of reviewers and booksellers promising, among other things, “infinite pleasure.”

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Fellows Find: Revelations hidden on post-its, in book flaps, and in the margins of the papers in David Foster Wallace’s archive

By Stephen Burn

Stephen J. Burn, a Reader in American Literature after 1945 at the University of Glasgow, visited the Ransom Center during the spring of 2011 to research his book-in-progress, Neurofiction: the Contemporary American Novel and the Brain (Don DeLillo/ David Foster Wallace). Burn’s research was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment.

 

When I first visited the Harry Ransom Center in August of 2008, I wasn’t looking for David Foster Wallace. I’d just finished revising a book that read Wallace alongside his contemporaries Jonathan Franzen and Richard Powers (Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism), and was putting together a blueprint for a new book that I planned to build out of the Center’s archive of Don DeLillo’s assorted drafts and research materials. Read more

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

Accessing David Foster Wallace’s “other selves” through the archive

By Heather Houser

To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, Heather Houser, an Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, will be one of the readers sharing their favorite passages from the novel on Wednesday, February 3, at noon. Undergraduates Dylan Davidson, Kendall DeBoer, Michael Esparza, and Deborah Lin will also be reading at the free event, Prose on the Plaza.

Past seminars Houser has taught on David Foster Wallace’s work have included class visits to the Ransom Center to view materials from the archive.

 

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Fellows Find: Manuscripts reveal internal battles of Civil War novelists writing outside the “moonlight and magnolias” school

By Harry Ransom Center

Dr. Niall Munro, Senior Lecturer in American Literature at Oxford Brookes University, was a fellow at the Ransom Center during the summer of 2015. His research was supported by the Fred W. Todd Southern Literature Endowment Fund. Munro is at work on a book entitled “Our only ‘felt’ history”: American modernism and the Civil War. While at the Ransom Center, Munro accessed the collections of Evelyn Scott and Stark Young. Read more