David Foster Wallace archives to go on display

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The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired the archives of writer David Foster Wallace, announced the center on March 9. Highlights of the collection, some of which can now be viewed online, include handwritten notes and drafts, research, and teaching materials owned by the Infinite Jest author, who died in 2008.

The collection includes handwritten notes and drafts of Infinite Jest, college and graduate school essays, and Wallace's heavily annotated books by Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, and more than 40 other authors. Publisher Little, Brown and Company, will reportedly contribute its editorial files, including materials for Wallace's posthumous novel The Pale King, which will be added to the archives following the book's April 2011 publication.

Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center, says of Wallace, "His works are intricate, complex, often humorous, sometimes challenging, but almost always brilliant, and his archive not only records his creative process but also demonstrates the dedicated choices he made in his works."

Wallace's materials at the Ransom Center will reside alongside the papers of writers such as Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett.

Wallace, who suffered from depression, committed suicide in 2008, after having achieved widespread success for his 1000-page 1996 novel Infinite Jest, about a film so entertaining that its viewers lose interest in everything else. Other published works by Wallace, who was also a professor of creative writing and English at California's Pomona College, include The Broom of the System, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, and numerous collections of stories and essays.

The Wallace archive will be available to the public later in 2010; for now, several items can be viewed at www.hrc.utexas.edu/dfw, and a selection of materials is on display in the Ransom Center lobby in Austin, Texas through April 9.