What is it about?

This paper builds an alternative to the critical paradigm in works on David Foster Wallace that posit affectless irony as his central predicament. I examine studies that problematize the notion that irony is affectless and argue that Wallace's characters reside in a double-bind of distance and closeness with regard to the other. With this in mind, I conclude that any ‘resolutions’ to affectless irony are better approached as mitigations of this double-bind.

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Why is it important?

The paper overturns a dominant position in studies on David Foster Wallace and suggests a new way to think the central predicament in his work. It aims to provide an alternative to the long-standing opposition between irony and affect in Wallace studies.

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This page is a summary of: Irony, Narcissism, and Affect in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, Critique Studies in Contemporary Fiction, April 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2019.1596876.
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