David Foster Wallace and Postmodernism: A Problematic Legacy with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes

David Foster Wallace and Postmodernism: A Problematic Legacy with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes


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David Foster Wallace was one of the greatest writers in American history. He is also one of the more misunderstood, problematic, and influential postmodernist writers. This seminar will examine his life, his writing, and will seek to separate the man from his art and the myths that his work created.

David Foster Wallace is famous for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, a sprawling dystopian portrait and critique of the United States of America. However, Wallace’s philosophy and social criticisms of America were often lost beneath the mountains of conjecture surrounding both his complex prose, his substance abuse problems, his violent obsession with the author Mary Karr, and his mental health. We will look at David Foster Wallace’s life and his lasting impact on postmodern American letters by analyzing some of Wallace’s most significant works and couching them in the postmodern aesthetic.

Led by Samuél Lopez-Barrantes, a novelist with an MFA in creative writing and a professor of writing at Paris’ Paris III: Sorbonne, this interactive seminar will cover the life of David Foster Wallace and an introduction to postmodern literature through one of the more quoted yet misunderstood writers of the 20th century. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding of the personal life and writing of David Foster Wallace and why postmodernism as an artistic movement is so hard to define.

Samuél is a novelist and musician who has lived in Paris since 2010. He holds an M.A. in European Society from University College London and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Samuél teaches literature and creative writing at Paris’ Sorbonne. He is also in an American folk-rock trio, Slim & The Beast, whose self-titled EP has already caught the attention of Rolling Stone France.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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