Conversations with David Foster Wallace

Edited by Stephen J. Burn

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index

978-1-61703-226-4 Printed casebinding $65.00S

978-1-61703-227-1 Paper $25.00T

978-1-61703-228-8 Ebook $25.00

Printed casebinding, $65.00

Paper, $25.00

Ebook 978-1-61703-228-8, $25.00

"Serious art is where difficult, complex questions get made urgent and human and real; and the political climate in the USA right now is so ugly, unreflective, selfish, jingoistic, and materialistic that serious art has probably never been needed more."

Across two decades of intense creativity, David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) crafted a remarkable body of work that ranged from unclassifiable essays to a book about transfinite mathematics to vertiginous fictions. In essay volumes (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster), short story collections (Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion), and his novels (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System), the luminous qualities of Wallace's work recalibrated our measures of modern literary achievement. Conversations with David Foster Wallace gathers over twenty interviews and profiles that trace the arc of Wallace's career.

Jonathan Franzen has argued that, for Wallace, an interview provided a formal enclosure in which the writer "could safely draw on his enormous native store of kindness and wisdom and expertise." Wallace's interviews create a wormhole in which an author's private theorizing about art spills into the public record. His best interviews are vital extra-literary documents in which we catch him thinking aloud about irony's magnetic hold on contemporary language, the pale last days of postmodernism, and the delicate exchange that exists between reader and writer. At the same time, his acute focus moves across MFA programs, his negotiations with religious belief, the role of footnotes in his writing, and his multifaceted conception of his work's architecture. Conversations with David Foster Wallace includes a previously unpublished interview from 2005 and a version of Larry McCaffery's Review of Contemporary Fiction interview with Wallace that has been expanded with new material drawn from the original raw transcript.

Stephen J. Burn, Marquette, Michigan, is associate professor of modern and contemporary literature at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. He is the author of Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism; Intersections: Essays on Richard Powers; and David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest": A Reader's Guide.

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, chronology, index