This essay proposes a formal approach to the work of David Foster Wallace, centered on two principal axes: one, the persistent pattern of reversals (the good becomes the bad, the sincere becomes the insincere, etc.) and intensifying spirals in his prose, and, more centrally, the formal predominance of the voice. Following the pathbreaking analysis of Mladen Dolar, I read the voice itself as a principle of formal structure, one that delineates most broadly a pattern of interior/exterior in Wallace’s work. Following the lead of Fredric Jameson’s reading of Kafka, I then attempt to discern the “content of the form” of these patterns, and argue that Wallace’s prose drives toward an unacknowledged political desideratum that shares a rhetorical and conceptual affinity with Marx’s descriptions of the supercession of capitalism.
"Form, Voice, and Utopia in David Foster Wallace,"
Criticism: Vol. 62
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol62/iss2/3