The End of the Tour, a new film recounting the final days of David Foster Wallace’s promotional tour for his groundbreaking novel Infinite Jest, is one of the most-buzzed-about indie films to hit theaters this summer. And it has UT Austin connections you may not be aware of.
The Harry Ransom Center acquired the archive of Wallace (1962–2008) in 2010. This archive includes manuscripts for all his published works and 300 books from his working library, many heavily annotated.
The collection is made up of 34 document boxes and eight oversize folders and is divided into three main sections: works, personal and career-related materials, plus copies of works by Don DeLillo, a friend and mentor to Wallace. The works section covers the period between 1984 and 2006 and includes material related to Wallace’s novels, short stories, essays and magazine articles. The personal and career materials section covers 1971 through 2008 and includes juvenilia — things he wrote in his younger years — teaching materials and business correspondence.
Most of the correspondence in the collection is between Wallace and his editors and is related to his work. The third, and smallest, section includes photocopy typescripts of three works by Don DeLillo, one of which, “Underworld,” contains extensive handwritten annotations by Wallace. DeLillo’s archive also resides at The Ransom Center.
“The archives are a window into his mind, and I really think scholars and readers will appreciate seeing that for the first time.” —Bonnie Nadell
In addition to the Wallace resources available on campus, The Austin Film Society hosted a preview screening in early August of The End of the Tour, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director James Ponsoldt and assistant professor of English Heather Houser. Houser has written extensively about Wallace’s work and teaches a class on Wallace.
During the Q&A, Houser noted that all her classes, not just her Wallace class, make extensive use of the resources of the Ransom Center.
The Ransom Center holdings are not just for UT students and faculty. International scholars and patrons from around the world utilize the collections for research.
From August 14 through September 10, the Ransom Center will display some of Wallace’s materials relating to his work on the novel Infinite Jest in its lobby. The items offer some sense of the struggles and the great joy that surrounded the writing, editing and publication of one of the most defining books of the 20th century.
Further details on accessing and using the Ransom Center collections can be found here.
In addition to the Wallace and DeLillo archives, the Ransom Center holds the archive of Gabriel García Márquez, who will be celebrated this fall with a symposium marking the opening of his archive October 28-30, 2015.
The playlist above features four videos from The David Foster Wallace Symposium held in April 2012 at the Harry Ransom Center and one video from “Consider the Archive: An Evening of David Foster Wallace,” held in September 2010 at the Harry Ransom Center to commemorate the opening of the archive.
The David Foster Wallace Symposium gathered writers, editors, journalists and critics to discuss David Foster Wallace’s life and work.
“Consider the Archive: An Evening of David Foster Wallace” featured readings of Wallace’s fiction, essays, and correspondence by Wayne Alan Brenner, Elizabeth Crane, L. B. Deyo, Doug Dorst, Owen Egerton, Chris Gibson, Kurt Hildebrand, Shannon McCormick and Jake Silverstein.
The End of the Tour opens nationwide on August 14.