David Foster Wallace and Religion

Essays on Faith and Fiction

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Michael McGowan, Martin Brick
  • London: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , November
     224 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In the years since his suicide, scholars have explored David Foster Wallace's writing in transdisciplinary ways. This is the first book of its kind to discuss how Wallace understood and wrote about religion.

At present, the scholarly community is sharply divided on how best to read Wallace on religious questions. Some interpret him to be a Nietzschean nihilist, while others see in him a profoundly spiritual, even mystical thinker. Some read Wallace as a Buddhist thinker, and others as a Christian existentialist. Involved at every level of this discussion are Wallace's experiences in Twelve Step recovery programs, according to which only a higher power can help one remove unwanted defects of character.

The multifarious essays in this volume by literature, religion, and philosophy scholars in the Wallace community delve into Wallace's life and writings to advance the conversation about Wallace and religion. While they may disagree with one another in substantial ways, the contributors argue that Wallace was not only deliberate in his writings on religious themes, but also displayed an impressive level of theological nuance.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Michael McGowan is professor of philosophy and religion at Florida Southwestern State College, USA. He is the author of The Bridge: Revelation and its Implications (2015).

Martin Brick is associate professor of English at Ohio Dominican University, USA.


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