The Legacy of David Foster Wallace

The Legacy of David Foster Wallace, edited by Samuel Cohen of the University of Missouri and Lee Konstantinou of Princeton University, is now available from the University of Iowa Press.

Considered by many to be the greatest writer of his generation, Wallace was at the height of his creative powers when he committed suicide in 2008. As a measure of his importance in literary history, The Legacy of David Foster Wallace gathers cutting-edge, field-defining scholarship by critics alongside remembrances by many of his writer friends, who include some of the world’s most influential authors.

Literary critics scrutinize the existing Wallace scholarship and at the same time pioneer new ways of understanding Wallace’s fiction and journalism. In critical essays exploring a variety of topics—including Wallace’s relationship to American literary history, his place in literary journalism, his complicated relationship to his postmodernist predecessors, the formal difficulties of his 1996 magnum opus Infinite Jest, his environmental imagination, and the “social life” of his fiction and nonfiction—contributors plumb sources as diverse as reader recommendations, professional book reviews, the 2009 Infinite Summer project, and the David Foster Wallace archive at the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center.

The creative writers—including Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, and David Lipsky—and Wallace’s Little, Brown editor, Michael Pietsch, reflect on the person behind the volumes of fiction and nonfiction created during the author’s too-short life.

Mark McGurl, who won the Truman Capote Award for The Program Era, commented, “The Legacy of David Foster Wallace is a necessary book—it will find a place in virtually every university and college library across the land. Surely it will be among the first critical works consulted by any scholar or student venturing into the work of Wallace and will interest the more ordinary, if unusually ambitious, reader as well.”

The book is available at bookstores or from the UI Press, 800-621-2736 or Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at