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In David Foster Wallace’s fiction, long-standing philosophical debates – does language describe the world accurately? can I explain myself to others? what are the values and dangers of self-consciousness? how can I lead a meaningful life? – play a central role. In fact the need to explore these debates as representing urgent problems of contemporary human existence is what motivated Wallace’s ‘occupational switch’ from philosophy to literature.

This volume presents new essays by prominent and promising Wallace scholars that show that Wallace’s work originates in-between philosophy and literature. Its philosophical dimension is not a mere supplement or decoration, a finishing touch to perfect his literary writing; nor is it the other way around: a pre-established truth the literary serves to illustrate. Rather in Wallace the two discursive modes are always already intertwined in a never-ending process of cross-fertilization. This approach constitutes an investigative perspective that allows for a variety of theories and methods to shed light on the constitutive in-betweenness of Wallace’s oeuvre – instead of imposing a preconceived methodology or a theoretical context that univocally homogenizes each single reading. The essays included offer a plurality of interpretations of Wallace’s engagement with philosophy and literature.

Organized in three parts – ‘General perspectives’, ‘Consciousness, self, and others’, and ‘Embodiment, gender, and sexuality’ – this volume breaks new ground: it shows that Wallace’s texts, characters, story-worlds, linguistic and formal choices, plots and concepts are all to be read ‘between’ philosophy and literature, and thus provides a highly valuable contribution to the field of Wallace studies.

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David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
Allard den Dulk
Pia Masiero
, and
Adriano Ardovino

between philosophy and literature. Indeed the philosophical dimension of his work is not a mere supplement or decoration, a finishing touch to perfect his literary writing. Nor is it the other way around: a pre-established truth which Wallace sees the literary merely serving to illustrate. Rather Wallace intertwines the two discursive modes in a never-ending process of reciprocal cross-fertilization. By suggesting that Wallace's texts, characters, story-worlds, linguistic and formal choices, plots and concepts should be read as between philosophy and literature, we are

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
Wallace’s ‘click’ between Joyce’s literary consubstantiality and Wittgenstein’s family resemblance
Dominik Steinhilber

As Wallace explained to Larry McCaffery, what once intrigued him about philosophy and later literature was ‘chasing a special sort of buzz, a special moment that comes sometimes’, which he likened to the experience of a proof-completion, adding that this ‘click’ is inherently ‘aesthetic in nature’ (McCaffery, 2012 : 34–5). While philosophy and literature work according to different rules and thus ‘click’ differently, Wallace's chase after the aesthetic ‘click’ in literature is nevertheless based in nuanced philosophical inquiries. To Wallace

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
A comparative reading of David Foster Wallace’s ‘The Depressed Person’ and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground
Allard den Dulk

ability to transform such critical-theoretical ideas into fiction. Dostoevsky constituted an important example for Wallace that some philosophical problems are best approached through literature. In the work of both authors philosophy and literature operate as partly overlapping activities. In this sense Wallace's review of Frank's biography can be read as an artistic manifesto for Wallace's own fiction: whereas in previous writings, as D. T. Max notes, Wallace ‘had mostly diagnosed a disease’, in the review ‘he was [now] giving a model for the cure’ ( 2012 : 209

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
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The Hegelian project of Infinite Jest
Adam Kelly

reconciliation but of stark contradiction. While his role in Wallace scholarship has to date been minimal, Hegel will be a central figure in the present chapter. 2 I will argue that reading Wallace's fiction ‘between philosophy and literature’, as this collection seeks to do, means passing through Hegel, whose science of logic and philosophy of history provide an alternative route to the ‘deep necessity’ that Wallace initially sought in analytic logic and math (Chodat, 2017 : 244), and whose phenomenology

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
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Psychoanalysis, politics and the art of French feminism

This groundbreaking book highlights, for the first time, a generation of women making art to define a culture of experimental thought and practice against the backdrop of the French women’s movement, or Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF) (1970–1981). Women’s art is viewed in relation to some of the most exciting thinkers emerging from radical trends in philosophy and literature in France in the 1970s – Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva – who are widely seen to represent the international brand of ‘French feminism’. The women artists in this book force a timely reconsideration of the full spectrum of revolutionary practices by women in the years that followed the events of May ’68.

Hypothesis for a diptych
Lorenzo Marchese

This chapter proposes a new interpretation of two short stories included in David Foster Wallace’s 2004 collection Oblivion: ‘Incarnations of Burned Children’ and ‘Another Pioneer’. The close reading of the two texts highlights three features previously neglected. First of all, the similarities between the two main characters (children who die a violent death) and a relevant number of cross-references invite us to consider them a diptych well past their initial surface differences. Secondly, both stories examine the philosophical issue of the contested relationship between self-awareness and linguistic communication: whereas in ‘Incarnations of Burned Children’ the baby ends up dead because it screams in pain without being able to tell his parents where it hurts, in ‘Another Pioneer’ the inscrutability of the child savant is the result of an excess of rational thought and analytical language that segregate him from the village community. Thirdly, these stories show in an exemplary manner Wallace’s position between philosophy and literature: issues concerning self-awareness, the limits of human language, and the potential of thought (probably influenced by contemporary philosophers such as Nagel, Rorty, and Derrida) flow into a specific narrative form, thereby demonstrating that Wallace is not a philosopher disguised as a narrator but a writer unable to be fully philosophical (in the traditional sense) as he offers the reader questions with ambiguous answers and no exit.

in Reading David Foster Wallace between philosophy and literature
Context and style of Elemental Passions
Hanneke Canters
Grace M. Jantzen

air Irigaray breathes. The reason for this intensive focus on Elemental Passions is that it has hitherto received very little attention. This is the first detailed study of the text in any European language, though it has received brief mention in several places. For instance Annemie Halsema (1998: 15n.4) refers in passing to Elemental Passions as an example of a text by Irigaray which balances between philosophy and literature. In addition, a number of authors use isolated passages of Elemental Passions either in support of their arguments or as epigraphs, but

in Forever fluid
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The Philosopher-Poet
Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang
Cheikh Thiam

representation that are separated by a gap. In this light, and by extension, we argue that the presence of the preface in Déchirures speaks to the gap between Mudimbe’s creative expression and philosophical work. In other words, we see a cognate relationship between philosophy and literature in the work of Mudimbe which is made filial through the preface to his first collection of poetry. While this perspective does not mean that the two hats that Mudimbe wears as philosopher and poet are identical, there exist points of affinity that afford the

in The Pan-African Pantheon
Paul Auster’s fiction and film

Altman, Epistolarity: Approaches to a Form (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1982) , 193–194. 15 Wayne Booth, The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Reading (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 173. 16 Booth, The Company We Keep , 163; Martha Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990) , 148, 230. See also Nussbaum, ‘Reading for Life’, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities , 1:1 (1989), pp. 165–180 ; ‘Exactly and Responsibly: A Defence of Ethical Criticism’, Philosophy and

in The politics of male friendship in contemporary American fiction