When a piece of literary criticism makes you aware at every turn of the substantial limits not just of your knowledge of a subject—one you thought you knew something about—but also of the frameworks in which you think, its worth and importance are blindingly obvious. Such was my experience in reading Lucas Thompson's Global Wallace: David Foster Wallace and World Literature. Its well-researched and wide-ranging attention to Wallace's global influences and intertexts should also be a shot of adrenaline into a Wallace Studies that threatens to grow tired, from a steady infusion of hairsplitting arguments that place Wallace's work in the same much-explored contexts, often postmodernism and American culture. Thompson makes no claims for Wallace as exemplar of global comparativism as it is currently theorized; in fact, he clearly argues the opposite—that Wallace's voracious mind borrowed from an impressive diversity of writers from all over the world, but in...
Global Wallace: David Foster Wallace and World Literature
mary k. holland is Professor of English at SUNY New Paltz, New York, where she teaches contemporary literature and theory. She is the author of Succeeding Postmodernism: Language and Humanism in Contemporary American Literature (Bloomsbury, 2013) and coeditor of Approaches to Teaching David Foster Wallace (forthcoming from MLA). She has published essays and chapters on Wallace, Don DeLillo, A. M. Homes, Steve Tomasula, John Barth, and others, and is currently working on a book tentatively titled Contemporary Realisms: Literary Form and Function in the Twenty-First Century.
Mary K. Holland; Global Wallace: David Foster Wallace and World Literature. Comparative Literature Studies 15 May 2018; 55 (2): 449–451. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.55.2.0449
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