What Brief Interviews with Hideous Men can tell us about rape culture

Original blog post by READ Research in English at Durham

READ Research English At Durham

Group of women marching with banners labelled "women power" Toronto Slutwalk, by Anton Bielousov (Own work: Slutwalk (Toronto, ON)) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsA serial womaniser. A commitment-phobic boyfriend. A wife beater. David Foster Wallace’s 1999 book Brief Interviews with Hideous Men presents a provocative view of male misogyny and its effects on women. In this brief interview with READ, which expands upon his recent Postgraduate English article, Matthew Alexander suggests that Wallace’s work is an important text for our times, especially in the light of current debates about rape culture.

For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, can you give us a sense of what it is like?

51SrWRJAjUL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Brief Interviews is a 1999 collection of 23 short stories, with 4 of the stories titled “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (across which there are 18 actual “interviews” in total). It’s a hotchpotch of styles, voices, and registers. The content varies massively from…

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