At Ransom Center, David Foster Wallace Archive Opens To Fanfare

A new generation of writing archive is born tonight at the Harry Ransom Center.

The manuscripts, notes, and other papers that the late writer David Foster Wallace left behind are opening with a flourish. It’s fitting for an acquisition that was heralded in some of the world’s biggest newspapers.

Wallace had a singular style; some called it maximalist for its length and manic approach. His breakout novel, Infinite Jest, for instance, was 1,000 pages long. He followed it up with works like The Broom of the System and Girl With Curious Hair, as well as eclectic essays on everything from lobster to tennis to cruising.

Sadly, he died two years ago at 46, after struggling with depression, so he is the first writer of his generation to be archived.

As much as the Ransom Center deals in the greatest of writers, landing his collection was a major coup. “I don’t think it gets much higher-profile in the literary world than David Foster Wallace,” Molly Schwartzburg, the center’s curator of British and American literature, said at the time.

Writers and actors will read from Wallace’s work tonight at 7 p.m. at the Jessen Auditorium in Homer Rainey Hall.

Even if you can’t make it for that, you can check out a small display of materials from the Wallace collection in the Ransom Center’s lobby through Oct. 17.

Books from David Foster Wallace’s library. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni and courtesy of the Ransom Center.


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