Presentation Title: The Peripheralist: Reading David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo

Section: Public and Private Identity I

Location: , 311

Date & Time: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 10:15am - 10:30am


This study explores the American writer David Foster Wallace and his relationship to postmodernism—both as a literary aesthetic and as a larger cultural logic.  Though most criticism of Wallace’s work suggests that he attempted to overcome postmodernism in literature, I have discovered that the question is significantly more complicated.  I show this by exploring Wallace’s relationship with another leading postmodern writer, Don DeLillo, through their correspondence (obtained from the Harry Ransom Center on a research visit there), as well as two of their works of fiction: White Noise by DeLillo, and Oblivion by Wallace, one of the stories in which Wallace composed in his personal copy of White Noise. I conclude that Wallace had a relationship with DeLillo (and thus to postmodernism) characterized by inspiration and respect, rather than aggressive patricide.


Type of Presentation: Individual oral

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Presentation Topic: Modern Culture

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Presenter Information
Presenter(s): Gaffney, Michael Thomas
Major(s): English and American Literature
Class Year(s): 2013

Sponsor(s): Millier, Brett C.
Dept(s): English and American Literature

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