One day I'll travel from here in Australia to the archive and study what I can. I'm not alone in not being able to get there right now, so until that time comes this collection of links, articles and scans will have to do.
The archive contains manuscript materials for Wallace's books, stories and essays; research materials; Wallace's college and graduate school writings; juvenilia, including poems, stories and letters; teaching materials and books.
Highlights include handwritten notes and drafts of his critically acclaimed "Infinite Jest," the earliest appearance of his signature "David Foster Wallace" on "Viking Poem," written when he was six or seven years old, a copy of his dictionary with words circled throughout and his heavily annotated books by Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike and more than 40 other authors.
Materials for Wallace's posthumous novel "The Pale King" are included in the archive but will remain with Little, Brown and Company until the book's publication, scheduled for April 2011.
Karen and I went to see the archives for the first time in July. In those first months after David died, the Ransom Center had approached us about buying the archives; Karen had to get out of the house where she and David lived in Claremont and in the craziness of grief and the mess of packing up the books into boxes to send to the archives, we made some mistakes. We found out there were books included that David had bought at garage sales or were given to him with writing in them so scholars in the archives might think they were reading David's thoughts/critiques on Mill on the Floss and they were actually some stranger's. Those books got taken out of the library or now have notes on them with an explanation. There were others that had people's cell phone numbers and home addresses that David had written in books so now the personal information is covered over or those pages copied and removed. And yes we did decide to restrict some of the self help books that were pored over and written about on the Awl. As some people have realized, these were really personal comments about family members (written years ago) and are private. Having a person's library with paperback books and writing in them as part of an archive is a new thing really and we did not realize how much personal and private information was in them. For the peace of mind and privacy of David's family these things are now restricted. It's a matter of privacy, to me. These are not public figures, their lives are not meant to be discussed on the internet.
- How the David Foster Wallace archive found a home at the Ransom Center (8/3/10)
- Bonnie Nadell, “The archives are a window into his mind” (8/3/2010)
- Infinite Possibilities: A first glimpse into David Foster Wallace’s library (8/3/10)
- David Foster Wallace Archive Acquired by Harry Ransom Center (9/3/10)
- View slideshow of materials from David Foster Wallace collection (23/3/10)
- Archive of Writer David Foster Wallace Now Open for Research (14/9/10)
- Additional David Foster Wallace materials at the Ransom Center (14/9/10)
- David Foster Wallace’s library: Dog ears, coffee rings, duct tape, and heavy markings (14/9/10)
- Teaching materials from the David Foster Wallace archive
- See the inside of some of Wallace's books
- From A to Z: Words David Foster Wallace Circled in Dictionary
- View slideshow of images from “Consider the Archive: An Evening of David Foster Wallace” (15/9/10)
- Preview archive materials related to Wallace’s posthumous novel “The Pale King” (8/4/11)
- David Foster Wallace's The Pale King - Six drafts of Chapter 9 with an editor's note by Michael Pietsch
- In the galleries: David Foster Wallace’s affinity for grammar and usage (26/4/11)
- Harry Ransom Center will host the David Foster Wallace Symposium in April (9/1/2012)
- New David Foster Wallace materials to be on display during Wallace Symposium (26/3/2012)
- Photo Friday - Includes DFW Symposium Pics (13/4/12)
- New book explores “The Legacy of David Foster Wallace” (31/5/12]
- Editor recounts working with David Foster Wallace on 1996 U.S. Open piece (27/8/12)
- David Foster Wallace materials related to “The Pale King" now open for research (27/9/12)
- Fellows Find: Scholar explores varied creative processes in David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo archives (9/10/12)
- English Honors seminar course on David Foster Wallace gives undergraduates a look into Wallace’s archive (20/11/12)
Ransom Center Finding Aids:
- David Foster Wallace: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center
- David Foster Wallace Collection: A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
- Bonnie Nadell: An Inventory of Her David Foster Wallace Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
- Don DeLillo: A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (Correspondence from Wallace in DeLillo's archives are in Box 101, Folder 10)
Article's about, or inspired by, the DFW Archive from around the web:
- Rita Booke's article for Phwarker, Infinite Mess: David Foster Wallace's Archive (28/3/10)
- Wordnik, What David Foster Wallace Circled in His Dictionary
- Words David Foster Wallace Circled in His Dictionary That Were Used in Infinite Jest (And Where They Appear) (30/4/10)
- From the Mixed-Up Files of David Foster Wallace by Seth Colter Walls (19/11/2010)
- Lost Libraries by Craig Fehrman (19/9/10)
- Choire Sicha (one of the editors of The Awl) and Seth Colter Walls spend the first 15 minutes of this episode of Bloggingheads.tv discussing Seth's time at The Harry Ransom Centre's David Foster Wallace archive. (24/11/10)
- Graham Foster's, In the archive with David Foster Wallace. (18/2/11)
- Jesse Klein's, In Which We Explore The Archives Of David Foster Wallace. (4/4/11)
- Maria Bustillos', Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library. (5/4/11)
- Paul Debraksi's David Foster Wallace–three items about what didn’t make Infinite Jest. (11/4/11)
- Anelise Chen's, Crafty David Foster Wallace. (25/4/11)
- Max Ross's, A Voyeur in the Archives. (June 2011)
- Justine Tal's, Archived Soul. (28/6/11)
- Samantha Pitchel's 5 part series:
- The Guy with Curious Prose: David Foster Wallace and the Harry Ransom Center (25/7/11)
- Infinite Files: Making sense of David Foster Wallace's manuscripts and marginalia (26/7/11)
- Consider the Author: Literary detectives find big meaning in a small collection (27/7/11)
- This is Water: The Ransom Center welcomes waves of researchers and biographers (28/7/11)
- The Pale King: Completing (and complementing) the David Foster Wallace collection (29/7/11)
- David Foster Wallace's Self-Help Books Removed From Archive. (30/8/11)
- Joe Gross', Ransom Center restricts part of Wallace archive. (8/9/11)
- Bonnie Nadell, Why there were changes to the Wallace archive.
- Elizabeth Lopatto visits The Harry Ransom Centre's David Foster Wallace Archive and studies the drafts for DFW's Kenyon commencement speech, Come On, Pilgrim (Winter 2012)
- David Foster Wallace’s Tax Classes by Seth Colter Walls (11/4/12)
- In the D.F.W. Archives: An Unfinished Story About The Internet by D.T. Max (11/10/12)
- “The Human Heart is a Chump”: Cataloging The Pale King by Jenn Shapland (17/10/12)
Consider the Archive: An Evening of David Foster Wallace, September 14 2010:
The Harry Ransom Center commemorated the opening of the David Foster Wallace archive with readings of Wallace's work by writers and actors on September 14, 2010. Readers include Wayne Alan Brenner, Elizabeth Crane, L. B. Deyo, Doug Dorst, Owen Egerton, Chris Gibson, Kurt Hildebrand, Shannon McCormick and Jake Silverstein shared selections of Wallace's fiction, essays, and correspondence.
The David Foster Wallace Symposium, April 5-6 2012:
Ransom Center Page and Program here.
Official videos from the live webcast:
1. "Everything and More: A Conversation About David Foster Wallace." Literary agent Bonnie Nadell and Little, Brown editor Michael Pietsch spoke with Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin about their work with David Foster Wallace.
2. "A Life through the Archive." Cultural critic and reporter Seth Colter Walls and D.T. Max, staff writer for The New Yorker, spoke with writer and historian Douglas Brinkley about the life and work of David Foster Wallace through his archive. Wallace's archive is housed at the Ransom Center.
3. "Writers on Wallace." Authors Elizabeth Crane and Amanda Eyre Ward spoke with Little, Brown editor Michael Pietsch about their connections with David Foster Wallace and his work.
4. "Editors on Wallace." Editors Colin Harrison, Bill Tonelli, and Deborah Treisman spoke about their involvement with David Foster Wallace's work with Wallace's literary agent Bonnie Nadell.
Special thanks to Thorsten for helping me get this page off the ground (he's done some groundwork for a sub-section I'm yet to integrate) and Matt for some extra resources.