Marshall Boswell

Professor of English
(901) 843-3581

A member of the Rhodes English Department since 1996, Marshall teaches courses in 20th Century American Literature and Fiction Writing. In addition to full-length studies of contemporary writers John Updike and David Foster Wallace, Marshall has published two works of fiction, the story collection Trouble with Girls (Algonquin 2003), which was an April 2003 Book Sense 76 pick, and the novel, Alternative Atlanta (Delacorte Press 2005), both of which are now available in paperback. In 2008 he completed work as editor and primary contributor for the final of the fourth volume of the Encyclopedia of American Literature. His stories have appeared in PlayboyShenandoah, the New England Review, the Missouri Review, and New Stories from the South. In 2002 he won the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching, while in 2007 he won the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity. In fall 2007 he delivered the keynote address at the Rhodes College Convocation, a clip of which is available below. His newest book is The Wallace Effect: David Foster Wallace and the Contemporary Literary Imagination, to be published by Bloomsbury Books in 2019.

David Foster Wallace and "The Long Thing"

A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies

Alternative Atlanta

Trouble with Girls

Understanding David Foster Wallace

John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy Mastered Irony in Motion





Boswell, Marshall (Ed.), David Foster Wallace and "The Long Thing", Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

Boswell, Marshall, and Stephen J. Burn. A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

The Encyclopedia of American Literature, Volume IV: 1946-2005. Edited with Carl Rollyson. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2008.  A complete list of my entries is included as an appendix.

Alternative Atlanta. Novel. New York: Delacorte/Bantam Books, 2005. 

Understanding David Foster Wallace. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.

Trouble with Girls. Short Stories. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2003.

John Updike′s Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2001.
The Opinion Leader. A Novel. 

“David Foster Wallace.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography. Columbia, SC. Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc.

“Richard Powers.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography. Columbia, SC.  Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc.
Short Fiction
“Father Figure.” The Rome Review 1 (Summer 2009): 76-88.

“The Remotes.” New England Review 27, Number 3 (Fall 2006): 215-223.

“Anger Head.”  Don’t Abuse the Muse. Dallas: The Middlefinger Press, 2005

“How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years.” The Sun, 2002.

“In Between Things.” The Missouri Review 23, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 9-24. Reprinted in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best 2001. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Book of Chapel Hill, 2001.

“The King and I.” Atlanta Review 5, no.1 (Fall/Winter 1998): 87-98.

“Bloody Knuckles.” Yalabousha Review 3 (Spring 1997): 17-29.

“A Midsummer Night’s Orbit.” Habersham Review 6, no. 1 (Spring 97): 53-68.

“Wolfe.” New England Review 16, no 3 (Summer 1994): 71-86.

“Hidden Agendas.” Playboy 40, no. 2, February 1993: 78-80, 136, 168-174.

“Bottoms Up.” Playboy 38, no. 11, November 1991: 78-80, 136-143.

“Forts.” Shenandoah 40, no. 4 (Winter 1990): 96-112.

"Introduction: David Foster Wallace′s The Pale King". Studies in the Novel 44.4, University of North Texas, (Winter 2012): 367-370.
"Trickle-Down Citizenship: Taxes and Civic Responsibility in David Foster Wallaces′s The Pale King."Studies in the Novel 44.4, University of North Texas, (Winter 2012): 464-479.
"Introduction: David Foster Wallace and ′The Long Thing". Studies in the Novel 44.3, University of North Texas, (Fall 2012): 263-266.

“Heading Westward.”  The Sonora Review 55/56 (Spring/Summer 2009). Supplement A Tribute to David Foster Wallace: 28-32.

 “Mild Magic.” Review of John Updike’s The Widows of EastwickThe Cincinnati Review 6.1 (Summer 2009): 190-194.

 “A Gesture Toward Understanding David Foster Wallace.” Modernism/modernity 16, Number 1: pp. 6-9.

Review of Rabbit (Un)Redeemed: The Drama of Belief in John Updike′s Fiction, by Peter J. Bailey.Modern Fiction Studies 53.1 (2007):191-195.

"Updike, Religion, and the Novel of Moral Debate."  The Cambridge Companion to John Updike. Olster, Stacy, ed.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005: 43-57.

“John Updike.” Popular Contemporary Writers. New York: Marshall Cavendish Reference Books, 2005. 

Review of Leopards in the Temple: The Transformation of American Fiction 1945-1970, by Morris Dickstein. The Washington Post Book World, Sunday, July 28, 2002: 15.

Review of Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism, by Richard Gray. Oxford American 33, May/June 2000: 98.

Review of Blank Fictions, by James Annesley. Georgia Review (Spring 1999): 201-203.

 "The World and the Void: Creatio ex Nihilo and Homoeroticism in John Updike′s Rabbit Is Rich." John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and The Motions of Grace. James O. Yerkes, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishers, 1999: 161-179. 

 “The Black Jesus: Racism and Redemption in John Updike’s Rabbit Redux.” Contemporary Literature39 (Spring 1998): 99-132.


Chapter Ninety-Eight: David Foster Wallace and suicide

Radio Broadcasts

Professor Marshall Boswell discusses novel by David Foster Wallace on National Public Radio (NPR), May 29, 2013.



1996, PhD. - Twentieth-Century American Literature, Emory University

1988, B.A. - Summa Cum Laude, with Honors in English, Washingotn & Lee University

1989, M.A. - English, Washington University