||The David Foster Wallace Papers document all but one of Wallace’s major works and
many of his shorter works including "Shorn," an
unpublished short story written while he was a graduate student at the University
Arizona. The major works represented are: Brief Interviews
with Hideous Men (1999); The Broom of the
System (1987); Consider the Lobster, And Other
Essays (2005); Everything and More: A Compact
History of Infinity (2003); Girl with Curious
Hair (1989); Infinite Jest (1996); Oblivion: Stories (2004); The
Pale King (2011); and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll
Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments (1997). McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express (2008) is documented
with two previously published short versions titled "The
Weasel, Twelve Monkeys, and the Shrub," and "Up, Simba." Signifying Rappers: Rap and
Race in the Urban Present (1990), coauthored by Wallace and Mark
Costello, is Wallace's only major work without representation. See the Index of
Works for a complete listing of all titles in the papers.
||The papers are organized into four series: I. Works, 1984-2006, undated; II. Personal
and Career-related, 1971-2008, undated; III. Copies of Works by Don DeLillo,
undated; and IV. 2012 Additional Pale King Materials
(1990-2007, undated), and V. Additional Materials (undated). Series I. has been
subdivided into two subseries: A. Novels and Collections, 1987-2006, undated and
Short Works, 1984-2006, undated. All of the materials are in English.
||Series I. makes up the bulk of the collection and includes handwritten notes and
drafts, notebooks, interview notes, research materials, typescript drafts, proofs,
and promotional materials. Some works are represented by as little as a single
uncorrected typescript, but other works, such as Everything
and More, provide comprehensive documentation of Wallace's full creative
process with research materials, notebooks, handwritten drafts, original and revised
typescript drafts, annotated and corrected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pass copyedited drafts,
and related correspondence. The majority of the typewritten drafts contain
significant annotations and corrections by Wallace, often in different color inks
for subsequent passes through a particular draft. Also present are Wallace's many
comments, frequently humorous and often written on sticky notes attached to the
transcripts, written to the people involved in the various stages of editing.
||Series II. contains personal and professional records including teaching materials,
childhood schoolwork, and college awards, essays, and exams. Also present are
personal journal pages, research materials such as handwritten entomology notes,
an “evidence” notebook containing freewriting, descriptive phrases, figures of
speech, and story ideas.
||Series III. consists solely of photocopy typescripts of three works by Don DeLillo,
one of which, Underworld, contains extensive
handwritten annotations by Wallace.
||Series IV. includes materials related to The Pale
King. The series comprises handwritten and typescript drafts, outlines, and
characters lists; research print outs and visual aids; and a set of notebooks
contain reading notes, names, snippets of dialogue, definitions, quotations, and
clippings. Manuscript materials have been organized according to batch and log
numbers taken from a spreadsheet provided by Wallace's editor Michael Pietsch.
numbers are indicated on the folders and correspond to the spreadsheet page(s)
included in each corresponding folder. A copy of the full spreadsheet is available
in the front of Box 1. Where possible, the finding aid indicates the source location
for each manuscript batch (e.g. "from his desk" or
from a particular disk).
||Series V. contains only a two-page typescript for the unpublished short story "Shorn," acquired and added to the papers in 2014.
||A relatively small amount of correspondence is in the papers, and what is present
almost entirely work-related between Wallace and his editors, fact-checkers, etc.
All incoming letters are listed in an Index of Correspondents. The majority of
Wallace's papers are in excellent condition, with only a few items requiring
preservation restrictions, photocopying, and/or special housings.