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Life & Arts

On David Foster Wallace’s Birthday, Consider the Ransom Center

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Image courtesy Harry Ransom Center
Notes filling a copy of "Players" by Don DeLillo, one of Wallace's favorite authors.

Today, Feb. 21, marks what would have been the 50th birthday of David Foster Wallace.

The postmodern author – famous for his sprawling novel Infinite Jest, and collections of essays and reports – would be 50 years old today. Suffering from depression, Wallace took his life in 2008.

A notable Austin connection to Wallace comes in the form of the Harry Ransom Center, which acquired Wallace’s archives in 2010. A complete list of the materials in the archive can be found here.

While a reservation must be made to view the archive materials, much of it has been incorporated online. The archive includes a manuscript for Wallace’s unfinished, posthumously published novel The Pale King, books from his library filled with marginalia, and a dictionary filled with words circled by the famously verbose author.

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