Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Little, Brown and Company:

A Preliminary Inventory of Its David Foster Wallace Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Little, Brown and Company
Title: Little, Brown and Company Collection of David Foster Wallace
Dates: 1987-2008
Extent: 5 document boxes (2.1 linear feet)
Abstract: The Little, Brown and Company Collection of David Foster Wallace contains the files of Michael Pietsch, David Foster Wallace's Little, Brown editor from Infinite Jest (1996) to The Pale King (2011).
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-5274
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Gift, 2012 (2012-03-008-G)

Processed by:

Stephen Cooper, 2012

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


The Little, Brown and Company Collection of David Foster Wallace contains the files of Michael Pietsch, David Foster Wallace's Little, Brown editor from Infinite Jest (1996) to The Pale King (2011). The collection contains only a single, unmarked excerpt from The Pale King however, with the majority of these materials residing in the David Foster Wallace Papers at the Ransom Center.

Materials in the collection include personal and professional correspondence between Wallace and Pietsch as well as between Pietsch and publishing staff; copy editing files containing manuscript transmittal and design checklists, design proofs, publicity photographs, style sheets, and other items related to book production and promotion; many unmarked and slightly-marked drafts of Wallace pieces sent for Pietsch's review; Pietsch's handwritten reading notes; a Little, Brown author's questionnaire related to Infinite Jest; and editing stickies from drafts of various works.

The collection is organized in a single series: Series I. Little, Brown Files. The materials remain grouped as they arrived at the Ransom Center, with the original file names intact and only minor organizational changes made such as perfecting the chronological arrangement of correspondence, for example.

A highlight of the collection is the correspondence of Wallace and Pietsch. Beginning in late 1987, their letters document a growing friendship, mainly through discussion of contemporary literature, and in 1992 the start of a strong professional relationship after Bonnie Nadell sent a partial manuscript of Infinite Jest to Pietsch. Their correspondence also reveals Wallace's attention to detail through letters containing, for example, five pages of "explanatory notes and helpful design suggestions," a sixteen page response in which he agrees to cut or change over 150 endnotes, and a six-point explanation and defense for those copious endnotes. Overall the correspondence shows Wallace's struggle both producing work and through the editing processes of cutting and revising his writing. A letter also reveals that Pietsch kept no drafts of edited manuscripts, explaining the reason for the mostly unmarked drafts in the collection and the disjoined editing stickies.


Additional Wallace materials at the Ransom Center are located in the David Foster Wallace Papers, the David Foster Wallace Collection, the Bonnie Nadell Collection of David Foster Wallace, the Steven Moore Collection of David Foster Wallace, the Don DeLillo Papers, and the James Linville Paris Review Collection.


Five 3.5" floppy disks are cataloged separately and housed with the Ransom Center Electronic Records Collection.


Correspondents

Franzen, Jonathan

Howard, Gerald

Moore, Steven, 1951-

Morrow, Bradford

Nadell, Bonnie

Pietsch, Michael, 1957-

Powers, Richard

Richard, Mark

Wallace, David Foster

Subjects

American literature -- 20th century

Authors, American -- 20th century

Modernism (Literature) -- United States

Document Types

Correspondence

Manuscripts