Tuesday March 9th, 2010

David Foster Wallace Doodles on Cormac McCarthy’s Face

suttreeThe Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin is home to the collected papers of Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, Doris Lessing, James Salter, and many others. Now it’s also home to the archive of David Foster Wallace. The press release announcing the news says:

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.

The Center already offers a great preview of the material online, including an essay by Molly Schwartzburg about Wallace’s Infinite Jest-related annotations in a book about cinema; a partial list of the words Wallace circled in the dictionary; and a great selection of the insides of his books, including a hilarious copy of Suttree by Cormac McCarthy, in which Wallace not only wrote on the inside cover “set-up is slow — does not set stage” but mischievously drew eyeglasses, a mustache, and fangs on McCarthy’s author photo.