David Foster Wallace's communal middle ground Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xk81jn84s

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  • Throughout the course of this thesis, I argue that the prose of David Foster Wallace, specifically his posthumously published novel The Pale King, inhabits a middle ground between universal sincerity and the particularized authenticity of postmodern irony. I examine Lionel Trilling's definitions of sincerity and authenticity before moving toward an examination of the diverging critical response to Wallace's work, which, I argue, suggests that because so many critics have read his work as either inherently sincere or inherently authentic, his work inhabits a communal middle ground somewhere in between. To explain, I analyze Wallace's so-called manifesto of sincerity, "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction," as well as other instances in interviews and conversations to develop a clearer understanding of what this middle ground consists of. Further, I analyze two passages in The Pale King in which characters seek to communicate moments of profound revelation. Though these characters finally fail to truly communicate these revelations, I argue that it is the communication itself that allows both communicator and listener, and thus both reader and writer, to experience a moment of, as Wallace puts it in The Pale King, "value for both sides, both people in the relation" (227).
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-06-28T21:10:00Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 RandlemonDanielE2010.pdf: 404131 bytes, checksum: 2ccae31986c8b1092573e7888bdf0428 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-06-25T20:28:35Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 RandlemonDanielE2010.pdf: 404131 bytes, checksum: 2ccae31986c8b1092573e7888bdf0428 (MD5)
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