Pleasure as Pathology: Trauma and Perversion in the Fiction of David Foster Wallace

Erik Cofer
Scholarship on David Foster Wallace understandably tends to focus on addiction in his novel Infinite Jest, as well as on his stated desire for a literary movement that transcends the recursive, ironic loop of the postmodern. This essay, however, explores issues of trauma and perversion in Wallace's fiction ? primarily beginning with Infinite Jest, chronologically speaking ? demonstrating Wallace's concern with the freedom of choice. A palpable friction exists between conservatism and sexual
more » ... os, and this friction characterizes much, if not most, of Wallace's fictional oeuvre. A principally psychoanalytic reading of the sexual elements at play in Infinite Jest, as well as in several stories from Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Oblivion, cultivates a more thorough understanding of the addiction theme present in his work.
doi:10.57709/5653008 fatcat:mx7tb6zdtndurihz3xdlxd6sc4