Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Jaffe, Aaron

Author's Keywords

David Foster Wallace; Authorship; Slacker; Genius; Literary self-fashioning


Wallace, David Foster--Criticism and interpretation


In the five years since he took his own life, the literary world has witnessed an explosion of interest in the late David Foster Wallace. Two posthumous books have been published; countless newspaper articles and magazine pieces have been written; and a niche of literary scholarship simply called “Wallace Studies” has infiltrated English departments across the world. Needless to say, David Foster Wallace’s celebrity has not waned. However, none of the published scholarship to date has examined the creation of the David Foster Wallace celebrity persona, a persona I call the Slacker Genius. This thesis seeks to analyze the numerous book reviews, magazine profile pieces, interviews, and photographs surrounding David Foster Wallace’s work. I argue that these sites of cultural production are part of a system of medially distributed authorship wherein the author, or, for my purposes, the Slacker Genius persona, must be conceptualized as a co-creation between biographical author and the media.