David Foster Wallace: Literature and Philosophy
Discover the life and literature of David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of his generation. By turns funny and moving, his formally innovative novels, short stories, and essays explore themes like boredom, addiction, irony, and the self.
On this six-week course from Manchester Grammar School, you’ll delve into the life and literature of David Foster Wallace. As you explore Foster Wallace’s philosophical and cultural impact, you’ll hone your literary analysis skills and philosophical thinking.
Explore key themes like addiction, irony, and the self
After an introduction to Foster Wallace’s life and literary influences, you’ll get stuck into analysing his writing. You’ll unpack his presentation of a range of key themes, including boredom, entertainment, addiction, and religion.
You’ll also take a closer look at the role of irony in Foster Wallace’s writing, together with his philosophical views on the nature of the self.
Understand Foster Wallace’s contribution to postmodernism
Foster Wallace’s status as a postmodernist writer is often disputed.
In Week 5 of the course, you’ll learn about postmodernism, post-postmodernism, and where Foster Wallace sits in relation to the two.
Read extracts from iconic works, including Foster Wallace’s masterpiece, Infinite Jest
Throughout the course, you’ll read extracts from some of Foster Wallace’s best-known works. From speeches and short stories to his philosophical reflections and groundbreaking novel, Infinite Jest, you’ll discover the diversity of Foster Wallace’s writing.
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Evaluate some of the philosophical questions raised by Wallace's work
- Engage with a range of Wallace's writings
- Interpret the different styles and genres of Wallace's literature
- Debate some of the cultural questions raised in Wallace's work
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone interested in philosophy, culture, and literature, and specifically in the work of David Foster Wallace.
It is particularly suited to pre-undergraduate level students hoping to deepen their learning about literature and philosophy.
Who developed the course?
Our history dates back to the time of Henry VIII, when The Manchester Grammar School was founded in 1515 by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, to provide ‘godliness and good learning’ to the poor boys of Manchester.
The School proceeded to build a reputation as one of the country’s leading educational establishments, a position it still holds today as an independent day school.
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