Adorable Literary Hoax Goes Entirely Unnoticed
In a 2004 issue of academic journal Modernism/Modernity, David Foster Wallace's short story collection Oblivion was reviewed by Jay Murray Siskind, a professor at Blacksmith College, and a fictional Don DeLillo character. And no one noticed!
Well, a couple people noticed. Anyone who actually read the review should've noticed, because if you're reading Modernism/Modernity you really ought to recognize the visiting lecturer on Living Icons from White Noise. Especially once the review stopped addressing the Wallace book and detoured into DeLillo pastiche.
It is at this point that I must confess to missing something in Wallace, namely the presence of women nearer the center of the narration (setting aside Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman, Jr., the protagonist in Wallace's first novel, The Broom of the System). I admit that I've always been partial to them, i.e. women. I fall apart at the sight of long legs, striding, briskly, as a breeze carries up from the river, on a weekday, in the play of morning light. And what fun it is to talk to an intelligent woman wearing nylon stockings as she crosses her legs. Wallace, I suspect, shares these predilections and could write wonderfully complicated women.
And, you know, there are footnotes citing Jack Gladney. But still, you don't expect a puckish little pomo joke like that from the staid folks at Modernism/Modernity. Which is why, maybe, actual real-life graduate students are citing the review as a serious piece of scholarly work. Which, guys, White Noise is only a cornerstone of postmodern American literature that you should be intimately familiar with by the time you're registering for classes for the second semester of your freshman year! We're just saying!
But, yes, Modernism/Modernity has acknowledged that this was just a little gag and not an Alan Sokal-style hoax intended to deceive. And But it took five years! (We were maybe all too preoccupied with death?)