Dr. Allard den Dulk awarded research fellowship at Harry Ransom Center

5 September 2017

AUC lecturer Dr. Allard den Dulk has been awarded a research fellowship at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) in Austin, Texas, United States of America.

The HRC is one of the main Humanities research libraries in the world. Its archives feature many important cultural artefacts and the papers of prominent international authors, including those of American novelist David Foster Wallace (1962-2008). Den Dulk was granted a fellowship to facilitate the research for his new book project on Wallace, entitled Wallace's Existentialist Intertexts: Comparative Readings with the Fiction of Kafka, Dostoevsky, Camus and Sartre.

The project follows on Den Dulk's widely praised monograph Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers and Foer: A Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary American Literature (Bloomsbury 2015, see here). While the previous book focused on the connection between Wallace's (and Eggers's and Foer's) work and existentialist philosophy, the new project focuses on the intertextual presence of existentialist literature in Wallace’s fiction. The latter's admiration for existentialist literature is well-known: Wallace published articles on Fyodor Dostoevsky and Franz Kafka, referred to Albert Camus in several writings and interviews, while Jean-Paul Sartre is also known to have been a "great favourite" of Wallace1.

Through conducting comparative close readings, tracing shared themes, motifs and formal traits, the current project aims to identify and analyse how key texts from Wallace’s oeuvre are connected to canonical existentialist fictions by Kafka, Dostoevsky, Camus and Sartre. These connections will guide our reading and deepen our understanding of Wallace's literary project as both formally innovative and driven by traditional, 'moral' themes, such as virtue, empathy and selfhood.

Den Dulk will spend the Fall 2017 semester at the Harry Ransom Center, and will return to teach at AUC in Spring 2018.

1Zadie Smith, "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: The Difficult Gifts of David Foster Wallace." Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. Hamish Hamilton, 2009, pp. 257-300: 264.

Published by  Amsterdam University College