"In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America

 

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Joffe, Daniela Franca en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2018-01-23T12:04:14Z
dc.date.available 2018-01-23T12:04:14Z
dc.date.issued 2017 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Joffe, D. 2017. "In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26899
dc.description.abstract This dissertation reads David Foster Wallace's literary output against the complicated history of identity politics and multiculturalism in America. Wallace's career coincides with the institutionalisation of second-wave feminism in the 1980s (including at his own university, Amherst College), the turn towards multicultural education and alternative literary canons in the 1990s, and the rising tide of nationalism and right-wing patriotism after 9/11. I depart from the universalist, ahistorical, post-racial framework of traditional Wallace scholarship to consider the literary and rhetorical strategies that Wallace employs as he tries to make a name for himself and remain relevant in a time of rapid social change, shifting reader demand, and growing hostility towards the elite postmodernist style in which he was trained. I argue that Wallace's fiction is marked not so much by an effort to adapt the writing to be more multicultural, race-conscious, feminist, and so on, but rather by an effort to signal that the author is aware of multiculturalism, feminism, and race matters, and that he is on the winning side of the ongoing culture war. Looking at The Broom of the System, I highlight the negotiation that takes place in the book between Wallace's desire to appear as the erudite and masterful postmodernist, versed in the tenets of metafiction and poststructuralism, and his desire to appear as the sensitive white male, attuned to an increasingly politicised female readership. In Infinite Jest, I examine Wallace's attempt to almost "out-traumatise" black women's writing of the 1990s by delivering a sprawling anthology of white hardship and anguish (grounded mainly in upper-middle-class experience). In The Pale King and Wallace's other post-9/11 writing, I show how the author wraps his unmistakably conservative vision of America and American masculinity in socially liberal, progressive-sounding discourse. The postscript offers a brief reflection on the significance of Wallace's work in the age of a Donald Trump presidency, and suggests that Wallace, had he lived to witness the 2016 election, might not have been as unequivocal in his rejection of Trump as his admirers might assume. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other English Literature en_ZA
dc.title "In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of English Language and Literature en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Joffe, D. F. (2017). <i>"In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26899 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Joffe, Daniela Franca. <i>""In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26899 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Joffe DF. "In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Humanities ,Department of English Language and Literature, 2017 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26899 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Joffe, Daniela Franca AB - This dissertation reads David Foster Wallace's literary output against the complicated history of identity politics and multiculturalism in America. Wallace's career coincides with the institutionalisation of second-wave feminism in the 1980s (including at his own university, Amherst College), the turn towards multicultural education and alternative literary canons in the 1990s, and the rising tide of nationalism and right-wing patriotism after 9/11. I depart from the universalist, ahistorical, post-racial framework of traditional Wallace scholarship to consider the literary and rhetorical strategies that Wallace employs as he tries to make a name for himself and remain relevant in a time of rapid social change, shifting reader demand, and growing hostility towards the elite postmodernist style in which he was trained. I argue that Wallace's fiction is marked not so much by an effort to adapt the writing to be more multicultural, race-conscious, feminist, and so on, but rather by an effort to signal that the author is aware of multiculturalism, feminism, and race matters, and that he is on the winning side of the ongoing culture war. Looking at The Broom of the System, I highlight the negotiation that takes place in the book between Wallace's desire to appear as the erudite and masterful postmodernist, versed in the tenets of metafiction and poststructuralism, and his desire to appear as the sensitive white male, attuned to an increasingly politicised female readership. In Infinite Jest, I examine Wallace's attempt to almost "out-traumatise" black women's writing of the 1990s by delivering a sprawling anthology of white hardship and anguish (grounded mainly in upper-middle-class experience). In The Pale King and Wallace's other post-9/11 writing, I show how the author wraps his unmistakably conservative vision of America and American masculinity in socially liberal, progressive-sounding discourse. The postscript offers a brief reflection on the significance of Wallace's work in the age of a Donald Trump presidency, and suggests that Wallace, had he lived to witness the 2016 election, might not have been as unequivocal in his rejection of Trump as his admirers might assume. DA - 2017 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2017 T1 - "In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America TI - "In the shadows" : David Foster Wallace and multicultural America UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/26899 ER - en_ZA


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record