Boswell, Marshall 1965-

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BOSWELL, Marshall 1965-

PERSONAL: Born October 18, 1965, in Charleston, WV; son of James (a supermarket executive) and June (a fabric store owner) Boswell; married Rebecca Finlayson (a college professor), May 18, 1998; children: Graham Finlayson. Ethnicity: "Anglo Saxon." Education: Washington and Lee University, B.A., 1985-88; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, M.A., 1990; Emory University, Ph.D., 1996. Politics: Democrat.

ADDRESSES: Home—1966 Snowden Ave., Memphis, TN 38107. Offıce—Department of English, Rhodes College, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112; fax: 901-843-3728. Agent—Damaris Rowland, 510 East 23rd St., New York, NY 10010. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, associate professor of American literature, 1996—.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America.


John Updike's "Rabbit" Tetralogy: Mastered Irony inMotion, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2001.

In between Things (short stories), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2003.

Understanding David Foster Wallace, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Alternative Atlanta, a novel, for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC).

SIDELIGHTS: Marshall Boswell told CA: "I teach both American literature and fiction writing at Rhodes College in Memphis, and I also write and publish both literary scholarship and original fiction. In the same way that I try to keep my work in literature and creative-writing classes deeply intertwined, I also try to let my scholarship feed my fiction and vice-versa. For instance, I undertook the John Updike study largely out of a fan's obsession with Updike's early short stories about growing up in Pennsylvania, pieces that have long served as models for my own stories of growing up in the New South. After studying Updike's work with such intensity I developed a greater sense of how his fiction—and fiction in general—produces meaning. That insight I carried over into my own stories, the best of which have been compiled into a linked-story collection modeled somewhat on Updike's own cycle of linked short pieces, Olinger Stories. Meanwhile, in my first novel, Alternative Atlanta, I sought to write passionately and honestly about the interior life of someone of my own generation without resorting to the self-protective irony that has marred so much of the writing of my peers. That same agenda has energized the work of David Foster Wallace, a writer whom I have long affirmed as offering the 'next step' after postmodern self-reflexivity. In fact, my book on Wallace makes that self-same argument. And in clearly formulating that argument I have clarified for myself what I hope to do in my own fiction. Hence the scholarship cultivates the fiction, and the fiction nurtures the scholarship."



Choice, July-August, 2001, R. H. Solomon, review of John Updike's "Rabbit" Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion, p. 1956.
Christianity and Literature, autumn, 2001, James Schiff, review of John Updike's "Rabbit" Tetralogy, p. 139.