David Foster Wallace

Presences of the Other

Edited by: Beatrice Pire, Pierre-Louis Patoine

Now available in paperback! Why is David Foster Wallace so widely read? Why does his fiction and non-fiction continue to raise enthusiasm among an ever-growing variety of readers of all ages and backgrounds, not only in English-speaking countries but all over the world, while describing all the malcontents, dead ends, and solipsistic tendencies of contemporary civilization? David Foster Wallace counteracts the vision of Wallace's postmodern oeuvre as selfishly self-absorbed, narcissistic, or confining, and it attempts to answer the question of its appeal by addressing it as 'an open work,' following Umberto Eco's definition of great texts. Epitomized in the missing questions of Brief Interviews, in the endnotes of Infinite Jest that entice readers into fertile wanderings, or in The Pale King demands for active editing and creative involvement, DFW's paradoxically difficult and impenetrable work opens up and allows for limitless interventions and participation. By becoming a playground for interpretation, his work reveals itself as an exercise in care. Indeterminate and inconclusive, constructed on Derridean 'difference', DFW's output testifies to the presence of a liberating symbolic Other. By resisting closure, it promotes both a fundamental reworking of the literary tradition and a compassionate vision of the human condition. Prominent scholars explore varieties of otherness in Wallace's 'open work' by engaging with the dialogue his writing establishes with non-literary discourses, such as cinema (French Nouvelle Vague), music (rap, in Signifying Rappers), religion (Buddhism), and philosophy (Wittgenstein). [Subject: Literary Criticism, Cinema Studies, Theatre Studies]

Not Yet Published
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781845199203

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