Though widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, an encyclopaedic satire of contemporary American culture and its various addictions, David Foster Wallace was also a prolific essayist, much sought after for his witty, irreverent and at times profound journalistic writing. Constant throughout however was his attempt to resuscitate expressions of unironic sentiment in a hyper-mediated, postmodern landscape. His account of John McCain’s 2000 campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee offers a fascinating insight into this pursuit of sincerity at its most politically contentious. Wallace’s invocation of McCain’s wounded white masculinity - specifically in relation to his five years as a POW in Vietnam - both underpins and complicates his attempt to cast the politician as an avatar of genuineness in American political discourse. In this talk I will examine the gender politics at play in Wallace’s conflicted estimation of McCain’s much publicized ‘Straight Talk’. I argue that his cautious promotion of McCain’s wounded masculinity provides the rhetorical grounds upon which Wallace explores sincerity as a possible counterforce to a neoliberal emphasis on kneejerk cynicism and irony.
A short story reading by Dr Glyn Hambrook, Reader in Comparative and European Literature and Co-Director of the Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research. Dr Hambrook read his translation from the Spanish of ‘Kábala práctica’, a tale published in 1897 by a pioneer of fantastic literature in Argentina and beyond, Leopoldo Lugones.
RiCH public lecture with travel writer Michael Jacobs
Lecture by Dr Stephen Jacobs
By Elena Woolley
Horatio Clare talks about his work and in particular his latest novel, 'The Prince's Pen'
In this free public lecture his son, Sebastian Peake, takes us on an illustrated tour of his life and works.
The writer, who works in both Welsh and English, discusses her just published re-imagining of a Mabinogion story, The White Trail.