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...

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