The Don DeLillo Society Newsletter 9. 1 (July 2016)



The Don DeLillo Society

The Don DeLillo Society exists for the benefit of readers and scholars of Don DeLillo throughout the world.  The Society welcomes new members.  If you are interested in joining, please visit for more information.

From the President: The Aura of Zero K

In what may be White Noise’s Most Discussed Passage, Murray Jay Siskind now famously describes the experience of visiting a tourist attraction known as The Most Photographed Barn in America. After “a prolonged silence,” Murray makes his portentous announcement:

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.
“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.” (12)

As literary critics have noted over the decades since the novel was published, the seemingly simple passage enacts, among other things, the complex relationship between language and perception. Trying to see The Most Photographed Barn in America only adds to the “‘accumulation of nameless energies’” (12), absorbing the unnamed people who would put up the signs, or follow them, take pictures, or sell postcards. The passage implicates White Noise narrator Jack Gladney, listening silently (passively? approvingly? skeptically?); Murray, the critic and theorist, who feels, according to Jack, “immensely pleased by this”; the reader, who watches Jack observe Murray observe the people observe the phenomenon and reinforce “the aura” (12) of the barn; and even the literary critic, who examines the reader’s response to watching Jack observe Murray observe the people observe the phenomenon and take pictures of the barn. This is the barn that Jack built.

Zero K, Don DeLillo’s sixteenth novel, released in May 2016, has quickly become its own Most Photographed Barn: nearly every book review can’t help but treat DeLillo’s previous novels as the signs leading up to the new work’s appearance. In The Independent, Max Jliu leads by noting, “Don DeLillo has always been interested in death. His first novel, Americana (1971), was narrated by a TV executive who, at 28, was already obsessed with ageing. In White Noise (1985), a couple discussed who will die first, with the husband saying: ‘All plots tend to move deathward.’ That was true of Libra (1988), which approached the Kennedy assassination from the perspective of Lee Harvey Oswald.”

In his New York Times Book Review, Joshua Ferris names The Names (1982) in his second paragraph, while in the New York Review of Books, Nathaniel Rich decides that main character Ross Lockhart “is an immediately familiar DeLilloan character, a sibling of the television executive–turned–documentary filmmaker David Bell (Americana, 1971), the non-German-speaking Hitler academic Jack Gladney (White Noise, 1985), the freelance technical writer James Axton (The Names, 1982).”

In The Nation, Jon Baskin begins by observing that “Ever since Underworld, the 1997 book that marked the end of his ambitious middle period, Don DeLillo’s novels have been creepy, inconclusive, and short. Zero K, his 16th novel and a book that has the feel of a parting gesture, is no exception.” A review in USA Today immediately name checks “White Noise (1985) and Libra (1988) to Mao II (1991) and Underworld (1997).” And of course, with my introduction to this piece, I get to play Murray, commenting on commentary even as I am guilty of doing the same.

No one sees the barn.

Of course, that’s unfair. It might not even be accurate—it’s Murray’s self-satisfied observation, and his ideas grow increasingly suspicious as the novel goes on. In fact, some of the fun in reading Zero K is precisely the thrill of recognizing DeLillo’s recurrences. Death, of course, is everywhere, including the mix of commerce and apocalypse of the opening sentence (“Everybody wants to own the end of the world” [3]) down to a revision of White Noise’s “Who will die first?” marriage debate. Recalling critic David Cowart’s book title, Zero K again conveys “the physics of language,” including thoughts on the word “lunula” (108) that similarly occur in Cosmopolis (36). The novel emphasizes the feeling of “time compressed” (115), familiar from Point Omega, together with narrative and linguistic tightness to mirror DeLillo’s post-Underworld characters’ spatial and spiritual displacement—in The Body Artist, “people in landscapes of estrangement” (29). Plus, we witness the familiar-sounding names, and the recurring idea of naming itself: Ross Lockhart, linguistically similar to Jack Gladney, is another “false character that follows the name around” (White Noise 17), and in my head, I couldn’t help but refer to Ross’s second wife, Artis, as Body Artis.

How, then, can DeLillo scholars and critics read Zero K as more than a game, remix, or a White Noise-like mass of compacted signs, and a work in its own right? That, I feel, will be what will separate the scholarship to come over the next few years from the reviews cited, which, by necessity, were quickly written, without the requisite academic rereading, researching, and rethinking.  For me, as always, DeLillo’s work is ripe for analysis and close reading, and scholars will find additional meaning, interpretation, and context within DeLillo’s own work, but also beyond it.

Murray concludes, “What did it look like, how was it different from other barns, how was it similar to other barns? We can’t answer these questions because we’ve read the signs, seen the people snapping the pictures. We can’t get outside the aura. We’re part of the aura. We’re here, we’re now” (13). It has been over thirty years since that passage was written. We are no longer in the Barn’s, or Murray’s—or DeLillo’s—same now. To quote Heinrich, another character in White Noise, “Is there such a thing as now? ‘Now’ comes and goes as soon as you say it’” (23). Heralded as one of our most prescient writers, DeLillo has always asked, and always complicated, what we mean by “here” and “now,” more so than ever in Zero K.  Scholarship does not have to be another version of the camera’s “the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons” (White Noise 13) but, rather, it can provide the possibility of reading outside the road signs. To Murray Jay Siskind or detractors, scholarship can seem like mere “taking pictures of taking pictures” (13). Yet Murray’s self-satisfaction to the contrary, of course we can’t see the barn in a novel —DeLillo never represents it photographically, only verbally, on his page. Even figuratively, perhaps it’s possible to see that there can be many barns, Mao II-esque Warholian reproductions in many hues.  Critics, then, do what we can to make the barn’s possibilities visible, not by selling postcards, but through imagination, thought, language, and time. Maybe it’s possible to see the barn after all. Or maybe we can even see beyond it. The same is true for Zero K.

Works Cited

DeLillo, Don. The Body Artist. New York: Scribner, 2001.

—. Cosmopolis. New York: Scribner, 2003.

—. Point Omega. New York: Scribner, 2010.

—. White Noise. New York: Penguin, 1985.

–Jesse Kavadlo

Reflections on a first reading of Zero K

In my current research I am interested in representations of the body in DeLillo’s fiction, from his debut novel Americana to the present. Faced with Zero K, a novel that centres on cryopreservation, I was aware that it might significantly change how I theorise DeLillo’s attitude to embodiment. Such a subject might bring to mind writers whose work grapples explicitly with future possibilities of the human, such as the near-future speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, or Donna Haraway’s philosophical engagements with the posthuman. Yet on first reading I find more common threads leading back to DeLillo’s body of work than any expression of a break, or any radically new conception of selfhood.

The plot is focused tightly on Jeffrey Lockhart, a directionless man who accompanies his father Ross, a billionaire businessman, and stepmother Artis, to the eerie and isolated location of the “Convergence,” where they intend to have their bodies cryogenically frozen. What strikes me about a novel with an ostensibly sci fi subject is how un-futuristic it seems; this is a vision of the future that is strongly evocative of the past. The associations of cryonic preservation are inescapably retro, perhaps best known in popular culture through its most famous (while apocryphal) client, Walt Disney. The descriptions of the strange environment of the remote Convergence are a throwback to Cold War conceptions of technological spaces. For me, the setting resonates particularly with the 1971 film The Andromeda Strain, in which a group of scientists descend into a custom made lab facility to study a deadly and mutating alien life form. A substantial portion of the film is given over to their descent into the bowels of this structure; an unprecedentedly expensive set, all eyesore red decor, computerized interfaces, automated voices and blinking buttons. The compound in Zero K is also strongly evocative of the involuted and progressively complex setting of Ratner’s Star, a huge research complex in which work is underway to decipher a purported signal from outer space. In that novel the protagonist Billy travels down deeper into the building, in tandem with the progression of the plot into stranger and more surreal directions. Similarly in Zero K the environment plays an important affective role. The space of the compound is a maze of sealed compartments, doors leading to unknown spaces, and numbered levels. As Artis has made the decision to undergo the process of cryonic freezing, in Ross’s words, “there’s nothing left for her on this level” (99).

Throughout Zero K, Jeff’s scepticism about the project is unwavering. Jeff rejects the possibility of transcending one’s own biological death, but rather than representing an embodied certainty in the face of “faith based technology,” his own psychic position, the business of inhabiting a mortal body, feels little more secure (9). An untethering of self to space and place occurs in the strange environment of the Convergence. The facility is navigated by means of a number of “veers,” a kind of elevator that transports its occupants in an unnerving manner—perhaps sideways, perhaps diagonally—invoking a sense “of angled descent, the feel of being detached from our sensory apparatus, coasting in a way that was mental more than physical” (138). In this environment Jeff becomes cut off from his surroundings and from the physical world itself, in a way that eerily echoes his general inner state. Jeff repeatedly attempts to see himself manifest as a being in the world, enacted through language: “the room, the scant roomscape, wall, floor, door, bed, a monosyllabic image, this thing and that thing and the man in the chair” (271). A kind of blankness characterises this endeavour, and Jeff’s struggle to see himself is exacerbated further by his narcissism, to which there is a kind of facile, dark comedy. While exploring the facility he happens upon a mannequin, “naked, hairless, without facial features, […] There were breasts, it had breasts, and I stopped to study the figure, a molded plastic version of the human body, a jointed model of a woman. I imagined placing a hand on a breast. This seemed required, particularly if you are me” (24). This detail is telling of the mode in which Jeff navigates his surroundings, a mode marked by interiority and self-absorption.

Elsewhere in DeLillo’s fiction technology has been portrayed as profoundly interactive, enabling an opening up of the closed boundaries of the self. In Americana David Bell watches television, his “molecules mating with those millions of dots” (43), and at the conclusion of Underworld, Sister Edgar seems to become absorbed into the Internet in a strange, transcendent moment of sublimity. There is no such openness in Zero K. When Jeff finally descends to the cryonic storage facility and beholds the rows of frozen bodies housed in their pods in “structured ranks,” he sees “no lives to think about or imagine. This was pure spectacle, a single entity […] a form of visionary art, it was body art with broad implications” (256). These bodies seem unified in their loss of selfhood and individuality, but any possibility of inter-ontological connection suggested here is overwhelmed in the rest of the text by the protagonist’s profound interiority. Jeff is cast adrift, repeatedly attempting and failing to find meaning in relation to the other; he watches a woman with the thought that “she would not be real until I gave her a name” (72). Elsewhere he comes up against a fundamental, impassable sovereignty when regarding another member of the project; “Could I even try to imagine his life? Someone else’s life. Not even a minute. Even a minute is unimaginable. Physical, mental, spiritual. Not even the merest second. Too much is pledged into his compact frame” (126). These narrative threads raise questions about the nature of self and world, creating an unsettling undercurrent, a sense that anything outside the self is fundamentally unknowable, unreachable.

The subject matter of Zero K abuts against perceptions of death and the possibility of transcending it, but goes no further. The characters speculate on what can come after death but we are given no access to the eventual successes or failures of the project, deliberately cut off from this imagined future point. The uncertainty of the self is exacerbated by the short, strange, Beckettian middle section, a meditation on selfhood that is either Artis’s experience following successful cryonic preservation, or Jeff’s attempt to imagine what such an experience might be like. The looseness and fragmentation of this central part contrasts starkly with the rest of the novel, in which every sentence reflects DeLillo’s characteristic strictness and economy of language. The narrative does little to account for the mechanics of the freezing process, or the planned revival, repair, and reanimation of body and regeneration of consciousness. These processes are explained simply by “nanotechnology” (238). There is none of the intense research visible elsewhere in DeLillo’s work, in particular the engagement with the philosophy of mathematics in the dense and complex narrative of Ratner’s Star. Eschewing further engagement with technological details, the sci fi elements in Zero K invoke a sense of something ancient. There is talk of “medieval” foreboding (267) and of the “local lore” of the complex (258). Zero K’s subject is not a modern immortality but a meditation on an ancient kind of death. Similar to the “body art” of the preserved subjects (256), the first description of the complex in the novel’s opening, a structure partially embedded underground, is “an earthwork, a form of earth art, land art” (10). It is suggested that we view it in aesthetic terms, rather than for its use, and the bodies are similarly depicted, aligned more strongly with their aesthetic qualities than what they are there for.

A voracious desire to attain, to “own the end of the world” characterises Ross’s desire for immortality, becoming the logical extension of the businessman’s accruing of capital (3). Against this avarice we are presented with Jeff’s wonderful, evocative memories of his mother, that align her with an attention to the everyday and with the minutiae of domestic space. Jeff recalls the “unseeable texture of a life” (104) in his mother’s placement of a spoon, her use of a paper napkin, details through which he is able to see that “ordinary moments make the life” (109). This revelling in the mundane and the commonplace invokes a return to the celebration of “the surge and pelt of daily life” of The Names (269), and the “radiance in dailiness” with which DeLillo describes the project of White Noise (DePietro 70-71). In Zero K, through the speculative subject matter of transcending death, and the portrayal of Jeff, an interior selfhood in all its minutiae, its “drizzly details” (109), notions of selfhood and embodiment are presented as unstable categories threatened by uncertainty, and attempts at meaning making come up against unknowability, as “what we don’t know is what makes us human” (131). The central conceit of the cryogenic process is oddly blank and mysterious, a tool that is used as a way into the novel’s central subject: the matter of occupying a body in the world, and the problems and uncertainties that are inherent to any attempt to address this through language. The act of cryonic freezing, the journey into the unknown, is understood ultimately as a return to the body. As one disciple of the process puts it, “we will know ourselves as never before, blood, brain and skin” (130). Many of the markers of DeLillo’s style are pleasingly present in this novel—crowds, global conflict, even a signed baseball. Yet in Zero K I find, above all, a measured and philosophical reflection on selfhood and embodiment, complete with the necessary problems and contradictions of such an endeavour.

Works Cited

DeCurtis, Anthony. “‘An Outsider in This Society’: An Interview with Don DeLillo.” Conversations with Don DeLillo. Ed. Thomas DePietro. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2005. 70-1.

DeLillo, Don. Americana. London: Penguin, 1971.

—. Ratner’s Star. London: Vintage, 1992.

—. Underworld. London: Picador, 1997.

—. The Names. London: Picador, 1999.

—. Zero K. London: Picador, 2016.

–Rebecca Harding

Don DeLillo’s Players: “Embodied in Objects”

Don DeLillo writes about the power of things. An image, a phrase, a word, a letter. He notes the power of a name. The power of alphabets. He points out what is weighty, dense, overarching, oftentimes regarding things that may not seem critical at a first glance, or in the everyday flow of life. He brings to light the cosmic nature in ordinary things, of a pencil on a desk, a barn (or lack thereof), a tabloid magazine on a supermarket rack, a commercial. DeLillo understands that in waking life all things matter and have an inherent power to them.

DeLillo, in Falling Man (2007), has a character named Rumsey realize that “everything in his life would be different… if one letter in his name was different. An a for the u. Making him, effectively, Ramsey. It was the… rum that had shaped his life and mind, the way he walks and talks, his slouchings, his very size and shape… This would all be different if he were born a Ramsey” (149-150). In his 1977 novel Players, DeLillo begins to similarly explore the power of space and objects as he so fantastically has explored the power of names. DeLillo shows how a tangible item’s alignment in a room matters and has a profound effect on people. In Players, as in Falling Man, he does essentially the same thing, but with objects. Rather than exemplifying the power of a name, DeLillo exemplifies the power of an object in a room. He poses that, just like a name, if an object were changed (in dimension or in placement in a room) everything would be different. The world to that character, in the world of that moment, would be altered. If an apple were to sit on one table rather than another, would things really be the same?

In Players, Lyle Wynant shares an apartment in New York City with his wife Pammy. DeLillo immediately pays close attention to the apartment’s space and objects and how that alignment affects its inhabitants. For Lyle the “presence of his objects and their locations” is “supremely important” and “reassure[s] him” (26). Lyle “stack[s] coins on the dresser,” and uses his good ties “sparingly…preferring to see them hanging in the closet” (26). Beyond being humorous (which DeLillo is and does not get enough credit for) this habit implies that Lyle would rather have his good ties be a presence in the room than actually use them; that is, wear them. A room and its objects’ alignment is all “part of a breathtakingly intricate quest for order and elucidation, for an identity among the constituents of a system” (28), as DeLillo writes, whose fiction, in tandem with that of his coeval Thomas Pynchon, continually seeks order within chaos. Is not a room with objects in them simply a form of chaos seeking order? DeLillo sees the room as a “system” in quest for such an “order.” To put the book shelf on the left, or on the right? That is the question.

DeLillo also sees the room as a sense of a deeper, unconscious self. “Objects were memory inert…uniform cubes of being… their sweet mercenary space, was self-enchantment, the near common dream they’d countenanced for years” (54). DeLillo continues to write of the apartment space as a shared conscious when he writes of Lyle and Pammy: “Embodied in objects were a partial sense of their being” (53). Later in the novel Lyle “walk[s] through the apartment” and seems to take stock of his rooms, noticing “an airy span about the place, the re-distancing of objects about a common point” (88). The room is a chaotic system, in which, at this moment, Lyle finds the common orderly point. The passage goes on to touch on the idea of self as well, however. DeLillo writes of Lyle, “There was an evenness of feeling, a radial symmetry involving not so much his body and the rooms through which he passed but an inner presence and its sounding lines, the secret possibilities of self” (88). The rooms in his apartment reassert himself as a being as he walks through them, making him realize himself in a way, which is to say that he sees himself from a distance, as a man in a room with an identity, someone alive on this earth, all by the unique chaotic order of the room and of the objects that represent him.

A character warns Lyle at one point that “you have to be dependent on the environment to give you an awareness of yourself” (182). In other words: objects matter; your surroundings have a profound effect on you; and you ought to pay attention to them for your own sense of being. It makes sense then that DeLillo’s prose is celebratory when his characters do take stock of their rooms and objects, suggesting this warning is worth heeding. In a novel riddled with terror, death, and disaster, beauty emerges in the simple objects that surround the characters and create the rooms: “The apartment was serene. Objects sat in pale light, reborn. A wicker basket she’d forgotten they had. A cane chair… her memory in things” (204).

In contrast, there is also, of course, something prophetic at work when DeLillo writes of spaces that are too-large: “What…was the World Trade Center itself? Was it a condition, an occurrence, a physical event, an existing circumstance, a presence, a state, a set of invariables?” (48) Too large, no doubt, to define or articulate, too large to have an individualized effect at all on a person. And certainly too populated (with people and objects) to instill a sense of self from it at all. Small spaces and small rooms would become a motif of sorts in DeLillo’s sprawling revisionist JFK assassination novel Libra, and there are hints of it here in Players. There is a power to small spaces and to the small objects that speckle them, and even when dismissed regularly, they are already imprinted into our inner selves, defining who we are in ways we may not even control.

Works Cited

DeLillo, Don. Players. New York: Knopf, 1977.

—. Falling Man. New York: Scribner, 2007.

–Rob Sobel

Don DeLillo: Fiction Rescues History, University Paris-Diderot, 18-20 February 2016

Fiction Rescues History, an international Don DeLillo conference held in Paris was one of those academic events which generates authentic scholarly excitement and the cordial collegiality which inspires another generation of critical work. DeLillo himself was not only present for the festivities, but talked at some length to a rapt audience and gave much time and attention to the French students who are now reading Falling Man as part of the standardized syllabus in French universities. DeLillo was insightful and funny—no surprise there—but also marked by humility and a gentle quality that does not detract from his mischievous glint. On the last day of the conference, he answered a student’s question as to why he had agreed to come to an academic event, of all things. He replied that he “didn’t know how much work it was going to be,” and added that he felt “gratified” by the attention to his fiction.1 And “no one was more surprised” by this reaction than he was!

DeLillo’s Allocution opened the conference and he spoke for more than an hour.  He noted that he had reached a “certain age,” and now, more than ever, thought of himself as a “kid from the Bronx” whose memory is still “clear and sharp.” He thinks of the past as a palimpsest clearly visible through subsequent decades of life but then, according to physics, a distinction between “past, present, and future” is only an illusion, and “it is time,” after all, “that defines your existence.”

It was enjoyable to listen to the author reminisce about the past. He spoke about his Italian roots, which are, he said, “very, very important to me. Eleven people grew up in my house.  My parents spoke English well. It wasn’t till I left home, I found what a crowded life we lead.  I slept in the living room and remember my cousin Tony coming through the window” late at night.  “It’s me.  Be calm,” Tony said. As a young writer, he had lived on “bacon and eggs on a hotplate” and once came upon Ernest Hemingway “walking west between Madison and Fifth,” the author who would “be dead within the year.”  He recalled recently finding “seven brittle type-written pages” written in the 1970s, a film treatment about “a sensitive” working for U.S. intelligence. “Did I write this?” he wondered.  He spoke of his “astonishment” that he actually wrote a novel about the JFK assassination and had hoped that Lee Harvey Oswald was a “Scorpio” which would have made a “strong good title.” “Libra” was somewhat disappointing! James Axton, he felt, was also wrongly named.  He “deserves a softer alphabet” and DeLillo thought that he should have stuck with the original “Benedict.” Eric Packer, on the other hand, had “the thrust of the name I needed.”

DeLillo also considered the genesis of some of his work. “I need dimension… a man and a woman in a room” and made reference to the “strong grip that place names generate.” Later, in answer to a question, he noted the prevalence of place in his work: New York City and deserts, Greece, remote southwest Texas, “a track used for a tire test… and wondering about the driver.”  More specifically, he made reference to Great Jones Street, which came into being during “the age of the double-locked door” and great numbers of the “homeless” populating the streets. He doesn’t “remember writing White Noise.” But he could not forget the “Athenian soundscape” which nourished The Names nor the earthquake that he and his wife experienced in Greece, translated much later into the Esmeralda story, “The Ivory Acrobat.” The Names in particular marked a new approach to writing, “sentence by sentence” as he “looked more carefully into everything new” and found the  “pleasure” to be had in simple acts, like “paying a bill.” The conference was entitled Fiction Rescues History after a DeLillo quotation, but in the 1970s, he said, “I was thinking about writing novels not about history.” But Rolling Stone ran an ad for a 27-minute version of the Zapruder film, offered by a Canadian company; the footage was expanded through slow motion and stop action and was “hard to look at.” The events of 1963 and subsequent shootings suggest that “the gun is the motive; give a man a gun and he will find some people to shoot.” This act “will correct all the wrongs he has suffered … or imagines he has suffered.” DeLillo also noted the “terminal state” of many of the novels: End Zone, Point Omega, and now Zero K. This latest work took almost four years to write and began as an “image of tall buildings clustered together,” “blind buildings by a river,” which morphed into “low buildings” amidst “desert waste.” He likened the writing to “carving words on volcanic rock.”

DeLillo made mention that science, film, art, and jazz inform his work.  Currently, however, it is clear that 9/11 is the single event which has affected him most profoundly and, as he said, would resonate with him for the rest of his life. Able to pierce the police lines that surrounded the disaster site, DeLillo was moved by the “three-dimensional aspects of the streets, the broken windows” and “police troopers” and “practically no other people in the street.”  All these elements had a “very powerful effect.” Thus he felt “driven to write” Point Omega, Cosmopolis, and Falling Manthrough 9/11.”  Many people were moved to tears on the last day of the conference when he read the last page of Falling Man, “like nothing in this life.”

DeLillo also answered questions about his work habits. At times, he will check into a word’s etymology, he said, or consider the appearance of a word. Fascinated by a life-size facsimile of the Rosetta Stone (the language key written in hieroglyphic and demotic Egyptian as well as Greek), he got to thinking about “what language looks like.” Do the words “physically describe what they say?” he asked. “Is this crazy?” He also finds interest in the “curious juxtaposition of letters within words” – “stood” and “looked” or “spare land” or “day fading.”

And by the way, “Mr. Tuttle is a real man” and not an illusion.

It is important to mention some of the scholars present at the conference, many of whom we have quoted over the years for their insights into the DeLillo oeuvre. The two plenary sessions were attended by DeLillo himself but, as someone else noted, he had the grace to leave before the Q&A so as not to put the speakers in an awkward position. Michael Naas, a philosopher and translator of Derrida, is also an accomplished reader of DeLillo and did a terrific job with “DeLillo’s Contraband” and the “illegal goods and substances” as well as “doubles, knock-offs, [and] imitations” that provide a good deal of the “uniqueness of DeLillo’s works.” Peter Boxall, author of Don DeLillo: The Possibility of Fiction, among other books, provided an equally articulate and insightful take on DeLillo’s work. He considered the frequent inclusion of “tautology” in DeLillo’s work—“The word for moonlight is moonlight”—to suggest a new way of thinking about the “pressure that history exerts on the body” and the “relation between history, aesthetics, and contemporary bio-matter.”

Other speakers included Matt Kavanagh who read “American Bloodlines: On the Origins of Libra.” Matt recently discovered an early 16-page film treatment regarding the “inner life of the plotters” in the JFK assassination, one early manifestation of the author’s “ventriloquism.” This sketch was found among Lois Wallace’s papers. Linda Kauffman’s “History and Slow Time: Don DeLillo’s Point Omega” explored the identity of Richard Elster and his likeness to, among others, Robert McNamara, especially as he emerges in the documentary film The Fog of War. She considered Richard/Robert in terms of their “failure of foresight and insight” and more importantly, their “moral evasion.” The novel’s inclusion of 24 Hour Psycho suggests the psychological impact of events on the perpetrators: “no matter how long events take in time, still there is not enough time to stop or slow those events.” Mark Osteen, who can pack more critical insight, etymological exploration, and humor into a paper than anyone I know, did not disappoint in Paris. He noted that DeLillo’s later works let us hear the “hum of morality” in “everyday life.” The “gallery of ghosts” who comprise the cast of DeLillo’s later characters are threshold figures who demonstrate the “lingering impact of loss.”

It was a real treat to see DeLillo’s dramatic reading The Word for Snow adapted by a small Parisian company, directed by Julie Vatain-Corfdir.  They produced a thoughtful rendition of this little play (which consists of only 24 typewritten 8” x 11” pages including photographs.) The players employed music and dance and captured the hopeless and humorous possibilities of its topic, global warming. DeLillo and his wife were in attendance once again and afterward, he made everyone laugh: “There were no bare feet in it” when he wrote it.

On the last day, students presented their papers on Falling Man and DeLillo answered questions from the audience. He was asked about speaking in tongues and answered that he is “fascinated by people who do this” and that he “had fun making up the language” used in The Word for Snow.  He was questioned about his goals for Falling Man and said that his “first decision was very clear. The book had to go into the Towers and into the hijacked planes.”  “A photograph I saw helped me in,” he said, “a man covered in dust and… I think with a briefcase.”  When he began the novel, he knew that it was not “his briefcase” but someone else’s. “Once I had a family in place,” he knew that the book would have a circumscribed, domestic focus. “Bill Lawton” was the construction of “the son of someone I know, so I used that.” Why does Keith Neudecker go to Las Vegas? “The character wanted to go,” he replied. But the research for the trip came when he accompanied a friend, a “serious gambler,” to the casinos and DeLillo seems to grasp the “séance in hell” (FM) quality of the place from this experience. Yet, the trip was “valuable,” despite its briefness. Why was Florence Givens drawn as an African-American woman? “She’s an African-American because she is,” he said simply. “Characters do build themselves somewhat mysteriously.”

In conclusion, DeLillo’s presence at the conference, the quality of the papers, the chance to present one’s work in Denis Diderot University and the legendary Sorbonne, the organization and attention to detail, the scrumptious food and champagne at the conference reception, and the opportunity to dine with DeLillo and his wife on the last evening combined to make Fiction Rescues History an utter success.  This event will continue to bear fruit in the years to come, as scholars and students build on the subject matter of the papers and create new links and confluences of thought.  We owe the organizers— Jean-Ives Pellegrin, Antoine Cazé, Anne-Laure Tissut, and especially Karim Daanoune who hosted the DeLillo portions of the program— a debt of thanks for their hard work and their vision. Many thanks!

1 Most of the quotations here–except those clearly ascribed to a certain source—are transcriptions of hand-written notes that I took during the conference.

— Jacqueline A. Zubeck

Art and the Artists in the Works of Don DeLillo, ALA, San Francisco, 28 May 2016

Despite some initial apprehensions—in no way related to the caliber of the presenters—about what seemed a thematically disparate collection of papers, this year’s society panel, Art and The Artist in the Works of Don DeLillo at the annual American Literature Association conference, coalesced around an unexpected set of critical concerns: what seems an ever-present role of the quotidian in a corpus of works that otherwise concerns itself with grand topics such as language, death, and the force of history.

The panel opened with a presentation from Chiara Patrizi (Roma Tre University) entitled “Turning Grief into Art. A Reading of The Body Artist.” Chiara’s careful close reading of DeLillo’s twelfth novel (excluding The Amazons) concerned the ghostly Mr. Tuttle’s role in Lauren Hartke’s grieving process following the suicide of her husband, film director Rey Robles. Rather than simply elaborating upon how the unexplained appearance of the bizarre, ostensibly languages-less Tuttle helps define Lauren’s mourning, however, the paper instead explored how Lauren’s relationship with Mr. Tuttle subtly brings to light an essential distance between audiences and works of art. At first parroting Lauren’s own words, Mr. Tuttle eventually reveals himself as a sort of linguistic time-capsule, recreating moments of Lauren’s and Rey’s brief marriage in the form of bits of dialogue clipped from their shared life. Ostensibly a gestalt of both Lauren’s experiences of grief and her memories of Rey, it is Mr. Tuttle who is the “true work of art,” according to Patrizi, and it is from Mr. Tuttle that Lauren draws inspiration for her public performance piece Body Time. The relationship between these works, one personal, the other public, is helpfully clarified in Patrizi’s paper by way of art critic Amelia Jones’s commentary on body art which, despite its tendency to “solicit rather than distance the spectator,” is marked by an “inability to deliver itself fully” to its audience (Jones 34). For Jones, it seems, there is something simultaneously intimate and inaccessible about body art, and it is much the same “transparent but thick” gulf between novel and reader that Patrizi claims is an essential characteristic of The Body Artist (Patrizi). Similar to how Body Time provides a brief glimpse into the personal experiences of life and death which inspired it, DeLillo’s novel provides its reader with a “window” into Lauren’s experience of grief. Despite such a privileged perspective, however, the reader of The Body Artist is ultimately kept at a distance by the novel’s prose, which emphasizes a certain irreducibility of individual experiences to language, thus suggesting the inability of literary works to fully mediate between the lives of artists, subjects, and audiences.

Independent scholar Emily Simon’s presentation, “’No Longer Talking about Fear and Floating Terror’: The Surface Aesthetics of Don DeLillo’s White Noise,” switched orientations from how daily experiences generate works of art to how such works can aestheticize death and violence, making them the background “noise” of contemporary life. Framed by the recurrent references to the works of Andy Warhol in DeLillo’s novels, Simon’s paper argued that the “surface aesthetic” commonly attributed to Warhol’s paintings is useful for considering how representations of death and violence function in White Noise. Much as critics like Ingrid Mössinger and Michael Hardin have claimed that Warhol’s Death and Disaster silkscreens turn images of death into signifiers available for everyday manipulation, White Noise’s reduplication of “death in casual, colorful terms” causes it to become a “flat” background trope within the text: “the difference between death as ‘floating terror,’ which permeates the story world [of White Noise], and ‘the hard and heavy thing, the fact itself’(DeLillo 202-3)” (Simon). In both Warhol’s silk screens and DeLillo’s novel, however, traces of the elided depths of these experiences remain. In White Noise, Simon claims, this tension between surface and depth can be interpreted in terms of a reversal of Gerard Genette’s distinction between story and narrative. Functioning as a converse of Genette’s narrative theory, White Noise appears to flatten its representations of characters and objects (the contents of story) while simultaneously providing a particularly “textured” series of discourses about these topics (narrative forms), such discourses unexpectedly crystallizing the hard and heavy fact of death otherwise elided by the surface aesthetic. According to Simon, this dynamism between the ostensibly superficial characters and themes of White Noise and the depths of DeLillo’s characteristically nuanced, precise, and often philosophically-inflected prose, both defines the aesthetic experience of the novel and relates this aesthetic to what Simon claims is the ur-trope of the text: the interface between life and death.

The final paper, given by John Duvall (Purdue University), “‘False Documents’ and ‘Counterhistory’: DeLillo on Doctorow’s Turf,” provided an interesting contrast to the first two presentations. Framing his paper in terms of DeLillo’s joke about avoiding Doctorow’s “turf” in New York (Remnick), Duvall claims that it is precisely when DeLillo occupies Doctorow’s terrain, specifically what DeLillo himself terms “counterhistories,” that he produces his most compelling works. In addition to challenging orthodox historical narratives, these “metafictional” histories, ostensibly the middle works of DeLillo’s career—most notably Libra and Underworld—also tend to champion the ability of the writer (artist?) to “Pull authority figures’ pants down. Fight the power” (Duvall). Such ebullience for the radical powers—what George Will termed the “bad citizenship”—of writerly language and imagination, however, seems to have waned in DeLillo’s works post-September 11th. In the novels which follow, first Falling Man and then Point Omega (The Body Artist and Cosmopolis seem oddly positioned here), DeLillo turns away from the historical scope of his earlier works, while also inventing a new term to describe his writerly commitments: the “counternarrative.” Despite the ostensible similarity of these terms, Duvall claims that the distinction between counterhistory and counternarrative in fact marks a distinct shift in DeLillo’s writing. That is, next to the idea of counterhistory, counternarrative “seems to insist on a focus on the local, the small, and the specific—all of which diminishes the possibility for historical thinking” (Duvall). As it was precisely this element of historical thinking that Duvall feels made DeLillo such an important author, this turn to the quotidian, a product of the need for DeLillo to reconsider the role of the artist in a post-September 11th world, seems to challenge what some readers of DeLillo’s earlier fiction found so intriguing about his work.

Considered together, the three presentations seem to emphasize an interesting constellation of questions for DeLillo scholarship. What does one make of the role of the quotidian in DeLillo’s novels, as the specifics of daily life have been a major feature of DeLillo’s writing throughout his career—most notably in novels such as Americana, The Players, White Noise, and the later works referenced by Duvall and Patrizi? How does this persistent evocation of the quotidian relate to the larger “systems” themes in DeLillo’s novels—one might be reminded of Thomas LeClair’s seminal In The Loop here—and how does this affect one’s interpretation of DeLillo’s own commitments about what it is to be a writer, especially given his aversion to the sorts of “around-the-house-and-in-the-yard” fiction of writers like John Updike (Harris)? Finally, how have these elements of DeLillo’s fiction evolved over time? Interestingly, these questions seem to divide serious DeLillo readers, Patrizi’s reading of The Body Artist ostensibly celebrating the very elements of DeLillo’s fiction critiqued by Duvall. Simon’s paper seems a potential mediator in this regard, suggesting that it is precisely how DeLillo’s works emphasize the quotidian that informs how the “larger” themes of his works are approached.

Works Cited

DeLillo, Don. White Noise. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.

Duvall, John. “‘False Documents’ and ‘Counterhistory’: DeLillo on Doctorow’s Turf.” American Literature Association Conference. Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA. 28 May 2016.

Harris, Robert R. “A Talk With Don DeLillo.” New York Times On The Web. The New York Times Company, 1982.

Jones, Amelia. Body Art/Performing the Subject. U of Minnesota P, Minneapolis 1998.

Patrizi, Chiara. “Turning Grief into Art. A Reading of The Body Artist.” American Literature Association Conference. Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA. 28 May 2016.

Remnick, David. “Exile on Main Street: Don DeLillo’s Undisclosed Underworld.” The New Yorker. 15 Sept. 1997: 42-48.

Simon, Emily. “’No Longer Talking about Fear and Floating Terror’: The Surface Aesthetics of Don DeLillo’s White Noise.” American Literature Association Conference. Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA. 28 May 2016.

–Aaron Schneeberger

Recent and Upcoming DeLillo News

In November 2015, DeLillo was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation.

In May 2016, DeLillo published his sixteenth novel, Zero K. You’ll find links to reviews and interviews related to the novel on our new Facebook page (see below).

On May 31, 2016, the journal Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon published a special issue on the works of DeLillo. The issue is available here:

Don DeLillo Society News

Despite DeLillo’s own well-publicized aversion to social media, the Don DeLillo Society now has a Facebook page. You’ll find links to reviews, interviews, and all kinds of DeLillo-related news, as well as a space for discussion. Please “like” us! (

A Note from the Editor

I’d like to offer thanks to all those who contributed material to this bumper issue of the newsletter.

If you’d like to send comments, reviews, or short articles for the next issue of the newsletter, please email them to me at (deadline: January 15, 2017).

–Anne Longmuir


 Rebecca Harding is a current doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex. Her research interests lie in modern and contemporary American literature and culture, and her thesis focuses on portrayals of the body in the fiction of Don DeLillo. She holds an M.A. in English Studies from the University of Sussex and a B.A. in Music and English from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. She co-organised the conference “The State of Fiction: Don DeLillo in the 21st Century” in 2015, and she is co-editor of the postgraduate journal Excursions.

Jesse Kavadlo is President of the Don DeLillo Society and a Professor of English and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Maryville University in St. Louis.  He is the author of American Popular Culture in the Era of Terror: Falling Skies, Dark Knights Rising, and Collapsing Cultures (featuring chapters analyzing Falling Man and Cosmopolis); Don DeLillo: Balance at the Edge of Belief; and he is co-editor of Michael Chabon’s America: Magical Words, Secret Worlds, and Sacred Spaces.

Anne Longmuir (DDS Newsletter Editor) is an Associate Professor of English at Kansas State University. She completed a Ph.D. on the fiction of Don DeLillo at the University of Edinburgh in 2003 and has published articles on DeLillo’s work in Critique, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Narrative Theory, and Modern Language Studies.

Aaron Schneeberger is a PhD Candidate studying contemporary American literature and literary theory at the University of Nevada, Reno. His dissertation—still in a seminal phase—considers the works of Sylvia Plath, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo in the context of contemporary research on embodied cognition and affect theory. He also organized and chaired this year’s ALA panel for the Don DeLillo Society.

Rob Sobel is finishing up an M.F.A. in fiction at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he is also a reader for The Literary Review. He graduated from James Madison University with a degree in English and was given the Departmental Award in Creative Writing. His fiction has appeared in The Magnolia Review, Lunch Ticket, Cigale Literary, Pound of Flash, Gardy Loo, and The Literary Itch. He has been working with special needs children in northern New Jersey for the past four years.

Jacqueline Zubeck is an Associate Professor of English at the College of Mount Saint Vincent and is editing a collection of essays on the work of Don DeLillo’s twenty-first-century fiction entitled Currencies.


Don DeLillo Conference in Paris Program (February 18-20, 2016)

The program of the Don DeLillo Conference in Paris, ‘Fiction Rescues History’ (February 18-20, 2016), is now available on the conference website: 

Registration and online payment are open till January 15.

Guest of Honor: Don DeLillo (with the support of Actes Sud Éditions)

Plenary Speakers:

Peter Boxall, University of Sussex

Michael Naas, DePaul University

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“Don DeLillo: ‘Fiction Rescues History’” Conference Paris – February 18-20, 2016


“Don DeLillo: ‘Fiction Rescues History’” Conference

Paris – February 18-20, 2016 

Guest of Honor: Don DeLillo (with the support of Actes Sud Editions) 

Plenary Speakers:

Peter Boxall, University of Sussex

Michael Naas, DePaul University


LARCA – Laboratoire de recherches sur les cultures anglophones (UMR 8225, Paris Diderot)

VALE – Voix anglophones, littérature et esthétique (EA 4085, Sorbonne Paris 4)

ERIAC – Équipe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les aires culturelles (EA 4705, Rouen)

PRISMES (VORTEX) – Langues, textes, arts et cultures du monde anglophone (EA 4398, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)

Call For Papers:

Throughout his imposing body of work, Don DeLillo unearths the mechanisms of history by securely anchoring his fiction in historical reality. His universeis genuinely contemporary insofar as it stages our epoch, exploring its problems and questioning its stakes. Indeed, the stuff of history is constitutive of his fiction: the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the life of Lee Harvey Oswald dominate Libra (1988), the cold war Underworld (1997); the nuclear catastrophe is depicted in End Zone, the terrorist threat in Mao II (1991), both inspired by the Iran-Contra affair and by the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie. Players (1977) takes as its object the world of unbridled financial speculation, later revisited in Cosmopolis (2003), which stages the collapse of the dotcom boom; Falling Man (2007) focuses on post 9/11 America while Point Omega (2010) explores a nation bogged down in the Middle-East wars and drawn into a logic of torture seemingly legitimated by the state of exception. DeLillo acknowledges his profound interest in the relation between fiction and history and in a certain type of historical novel: “My own personal preference is for fiction that is steeped in history, that takes account of ways in which our perceptions are being changed by events around us. Global events that may alter how we live in the smallest ways.”

This conference will focus on the shaping power of history in DeLillo’s work. How and why does the writer complexify the theories and the writing of history, even as his fiction allows him to solve a number of theoretical aporias. Papers may also take into account the apparent obliteration of history in certain novels. Indeed, even when history is absent, as is the case in White Noise (1984) or The Body Artist (2001) for instance, its very erasure seems obscurely to reinforce its presence. The epochal dimension of DeLillo’s work could also be questioned, in other words the underlying dimension of suspension in his fiction, especially at the turn of the new millennium. According to its etymology (epokhē), the word epoch designates an unknown territory in which history seems to hesitate over what direction to take and to be in search of a form of written narrative – a territory suggested, for instance, by the contrapuntal relation between the dehistoricized The Body Artist and the hyper-historicized Cosmopolis. Such an a-temporal (a-chronic?) moment could also be considered in other works of the same period, namely the essay “In the Ruins of the Future” (2001) but also his play Love-Lies-Bleeding(2005) which literally represents the in-between. To what extent and how does 9/11 embody such a transition?

Such considerations call for a re-evaluation of the place of Falling Man (2007) and more precisely for a reexamination of this novel among other works written in the liminal space of the millennium and contributing to the sub-genre of “post-9/11 fictions” – a category that itself should be questioned.

The conference will address DeLillo’s critical analysis of official history as well as of its totalizing and totalitarian power, for instance by focusing on voices of protest in his work who find themselves confined to the margins of history.  In connection with these margins, it may be worth returning to the notion of “counter‑history” put forward by the author in his essay “The Power of History” (1997), a notion that could include the role played by arts and artists when they question official forms of discourse and make manifest the very heterogeneity of history.

Conference participants should pay particular attention to the singular language invented by DeLillo out of conventional discourses, bearing in mind the writer’s words: “But before everything, there’s language. Before history and politics, there’s language.”

Papers need not be limited to DeLillo’s novels, they may also focus on the plays and stories.

Contributors are invited to tackle the following topics, among others:

  • The various forms of writing history
  • Resistance and counter-narratives
  • Community/ies
  • DeLillo and his contemporaries
  • Terrorism and counter-terrorism; the evolution in the representations of terrorism(s), from the story « The Uniforms» (1970) to the latest novelPoint Omega.
  • Relations between essays and fiction
  • Technology


Deadline for proposals (title, ±500-word long abstract, and short bio): October 15, 2015

Answer: November 1st, 2015

Proposals should be submitted by email to the scientific committee

Antoine Cazé –

Anne-Laure Tissut –

Karim Daanoune –

Jean-Yves Pellegrin –


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The Don DeLillo Society Conference in Sussex

This one-day conference will address the state of fiction in contemporary American culture by focusing on the extensive oeuvre of Don DeLillo, from the 1970s to the present day and beyond. Shortly after the publication of The Names, DeLillo commented that fiction had not yet been ‘filled in,’ ‘done in,’ or ‘worked out.’ How do we read this thirty years later, in the shadow of not only DeLillo’s major works but also the events that have characterised our move into the Twenty-First Century? How have DeLillo’s small leaps between the New York of Players (1977) and the New York of Falling Man (2007) ‘filled in’ fiction? Has DeLillo’s pervasive influence across contemporary American culture ‘done in’ postmodernism? Is the novel in the Twenty First Century already ‘worked out’?

For more information, check out the conference’s website.

Or purchase your tickets here.

The Don DeLillo Society Newsletter, Volume 8, No. 1 – March 2015

The Don DeLillo Society Newsletter

Volume 8, No. 1 – March 2015

The Don DeLillo Society 

The Don DeLillo Society exists for the benefit of readers and scholars of Don DeLillo throughout the world.  The Society welcomes new members.  If you are interested in joining, please log onto for more information.

From the President

Make It New

First page of DeLillo’s annotated Underworld, auctioned at Christie’s PEN American Center’s First Editions/Second Thoughts benefit on December 2, 2014.

2015 celebrates the 30th anniversary of Don DeLillo’s White Noise. It’s still my favorite of DeLillo’s books, and simply my favorite book. It’s tempting to brag that one of his less lauded novels is my favorite, like The Names (cult following, darker feel, not funny) or maybe Ratner’s Star (long, unpopular, incongruously funny), the way a poseur might extol Revolver while secretly savoring Meet the Beatles. Then again, like Beatles albums, I don’t feel as though DeLillo has a single bad novel.1

That may sound biased, given DeLillo’s prolific output and the fact that several of his novels were not particularly well received. But it’s as though I have to like everything as DeLillo Society officer; I just do, so that’s why I’m happy to be in DDS. And so I found myself for the past year rethinking three DeLillo novels that I didn’t love at first at first cite: Cosmopolis, Falling Man, and Point Omega. None received the accolades of White Noise—or Libra or Underworld, a cavernous novel I’m about to spelunk again as well. Yet in reexamining each to decide how best to write about them, I was surprised at how new and rich they turned out to be. Each was far better reread than first-read, with the ironic caveat that any reader not beguiled the first time would be unlikely to give it another go.

By contrast, White Noise was always an easy read and reread—I own four different editions and have read it at least seven times, each time coming away with something new. First, it was the style—those gem-like sentences—plus the humor and Hitler, while it took longer for me to notice the significance of threes, the recurring image of rain, or the traces of spirituality as well as terror that seem so clear in other of DeLillo’s works. I was happy to find new meaning in the newer novels as well. I began writing about DeLillo’s novels as a graduate student in 1997, so it’s striking to think that I’m still working on them almost two decades later. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Then again, it can take a long time to make it new, as DeLillo observed in his recently auctioned annotated copy of Underworld: “My editor was waiting for the manuscript … and I kept telling her that I was working on a new first sentence” (

The years of 2014-2015 are turning out to be a new time for the Don DeLillo Society as well. I’d like to welcome webmaster Aaron DeRosa, who replaces Philip Nel, a decade-plus DDS veteran and the last founding member to part ways. Special thanks to Phil for all he has done. And with our new webmaster comes our new website,, as we continue to make DeLillo’s work new and invite new readers to do the same.

–Jesse Kavadlo

[1] In one of those strange intersections of interests, for White Noise’s 30th anniversary Pitchfork invited musicians to reflect on the novel. Why? Why not?

Notes for a Novel of Capital

Eisenstein’s influence on DeLillo is not a new issue in DeLillo studies, especially since the publication of Underworld. Eisenstein’s theories of montage have been frequently discussed as a possible reason behind DeLillo’s decision to insert an apocryphal movie into his novel, attributed to the famous avant-garde and revolutionary filmmaker (see Catherine Morley especially). In this essay, however, the focus will be on Eisenstein’s ideas about the possibility of appropriating Marx’s dialectical methods as the structural principles behind the organization of an artistic representation¾a movie¾about everydayness. Many of the stylistic, thematic, compositional, and narrative devices employed in Underworld suggest DeLillo’s familiarity with Eisenstein’s plans for making a film of Capital. There are also certain affinities between Eisenstein’s and DeLillo’s conception of the relationship between economy, dialectical thinking, and narrative.

Das Kapital¾the title of the Underworld’s epilogue¾is the point of intersection between Eisenstein’s and DeLillo’s understanding and representation of everyday life caught in the dense, inextricable, flexible, and expanding webs of capital’s flows and weavings. Eisenstein explicates the function of alluding to Marx’s Capital in his “Notes”: more than merely criticising capitalism and the capitalistic working environment and modes of production/accumulation, Eisenstein argues we should apply Marx’s analytical and dialectical methods to the representation of everyday life, in order to reveal its non-obvious conditions and determinants. The plan for “a film treatise” (4) is based on the thesis that the true and real content of a work of art is, actually, its “method,” e.g., its form, its structural and compositional devices: “The most important thing ‘in life’ now is to draw conclusions from formal aspects”; “To show the method of dialectics” (emphasis in original) (9-10). As Michelson puts it, “The notes for Capital, then, are a program for the development of the cognitive instrument […]” (35). But how should it work?

Eisenstein discusses his own creative methods in the context of contemporaneous modes of production. Following Marx, he implies interdependences and analogies between various levels and types of production, both material and symbolic. His notes and sketches explain how the structure or the construction of an artistic work implicitly signifies and criticises modes of producing meanings, beliefs, and ideologies. DeLillo does the same, at the beginning of the Epilogue, for example. There he introduces Nick’s thoughts about new, globalist strategies of capital, inciting readers to think about new economy of meaning, too. Capital tends to connect everything and everybody, making them exchangeable; things that used to be independent have become “more or less inter-dependent branches of the collective production of an enlarged society” as Marx puts it in Capital (Ch. 14, Sec. 4). However, the same is the case with the significance and semantic function of numerous apparently absolutely heterogeneous and seemingly independent details in Underworld. At one and the same time, DeLillo discovers and creates various types of their interdependences. Because of the hint at similarity, even complicity between “the logic of production” (Eisenstein, qtd. in Michelson, 36) and the logic of creating meanings, barely comprehensible and overwhelming chains and webs of secretly connected events, situations, characters and things seem to work throughout the novel as “the force of converging markets produces an instantaneous capital that shoots across horizons at the speed of light, making for a certain furtive sameness, a planning away of particulars that affects everything from architecture to leisure time to the way people eat and sleep and dream” (DeLillo 786). The “[r]andom arrangements” (786) Nick discovers in the design and atmosphere of a Russian night club refer to key aspects of the novel’s mechanism as well. This suggests that in making senses of inscrutable and fortuitous connections DeLillo wants both to simulate and dismantle production practices that his novel otherwise shows and talks about.

Emphasizing new explicative and interpretative frame that Marx’s Capital could and should have led Eisenstein towards conception of a film that would synthesize Marx’s and Joyce’s approaches to everydayness. He wanted to apply both ways of searching for non-visible, underground, synchronic and diachronic abstract relations among phenomena and situations (historically specific production relations and ahistorical archetypal patterns). He relied on both models of uncovering processes of reproductions and transformations of the mechanisms and forms from one sphere of life into the other, seemingly totally autonomous. Concrete, naturalistically rendered details of everyday life should serve as the springboard for “the play of concepts,” which are their “offshoots” (15). Among the techniques and devices for realizing this intellectual play that Eisenstein sketched in his “Notes” is the shifting between ironic and pathetic, between dark and comic. In a word, he proposed formal and stylistic particularity of every part of the work, which characterizes DeLillo’s novel too, the aim of which is to intensify perception through constant and unpredictable oscillation between opposite moods and emotions. This includes hyperbolisation (10) of the pathos as is the case with DeLillo’s representation of Esmeralda’s and Sister Edgar’s posthumous “existence,” for example. In addition, Eisenstein conceived of a work the content of which would be made primary of banalities and irrelevant details of everyday life–“triviality for the ‘spinal’ theme”¾which would develop associatively and under the pressure of “‘extra-thematic’ imagery” (10). It is not very hard to recognize the associative nature of connections DeLillo constructs among otherwise very distant and divergent phenomena and things, such as the situations connected through the motif of the left shoe or the chain made of various orange things. These associations lead to the prevalence of “extra-thematic imagery” and the absence of a single, all-encompassing theme. The film should have had its “little story,” its historiette (16), as Underworld has Nick’s story, “sometimes, les débris d’action deliberately plot-like and continuous” (22), but it should not be based on the recognizable plot but founded on the inner relations and links, on the “sequential arranging of ‘distancing elements’” (16). In addition, Eisenstein imagined the final chapter that would produce “a dialectical decoding of the very same story irrespective of the real theme” (22). In this context, the Epilogue of Underworld could be read as a “dialectical decoding” of the effects and results of the Cold War politics and political economy and its nominal closure.

The structural characteristics of DeLillo’s Underworld also correspond with Eisenstein’s ideas about his hypothetical movie. However, DeLillo has not only maximally expanded associative capacity of every detail and possibilities of associative connections, of repetitions that manage to bestow different, even contradictory and antithetical meaning on one and the same thing. He has realized some of the concrete scenes that occurred to Eisenstein. For example, Eisenstein planned to “provoke a head-on collision between a stimulus and the final link of a complex chain of conditioned reflexes,” so that it would appear that between the initial situation and the final effect there was no more connection. Specifically, he thought about the collision between an erotic stimulus and an act of sublimity, spirituality (19). This idea is present in the hotel scenes from the third part of Underworld (“Cloud of Unknowing”). Nick’s adultery, depicted in juicy details, with the woman he finds simultaneously attractive and repulsive, includes Nick’s digressions into mysticism and the possibility of knowing God, which is an unexpected theme, totally inappropriate for the situation. This leads to the “head-on collision” of a mild pornography and a sudden moment of catharsis of repressed memories. This kind of shocking and provocative, even rude collision is the key point of Eisenstein’s conception of the montage. Bearing in mind that the scene is explicitly filmic, ironically framed (first “B movie”-like and later “movie scenes, slightly elliptical in tone […]” (DeLillo 282, 292)) we could suggest another “head-on collision”: the one between a famous twentieth century Russian artist who wanted to propagate (to absorb, not educate (Eisenstein 14)) and to condition recipients’ reflexes by means of art, to fill their minds with constructive and progressive ideas, and an anonymous, unknown fourteenth century English mystic who wanted to communicate the emptiness of mind and the force of humbleness of unknowing.

Works Cited

DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York: Scribner, 1998.

Eisenstein, Sergei. “Notes for a Film of ‘Capital.’” October 2 (1976): 3-26.

Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Vol. 1. Marxist Internet Archive. Web. 28 June 2014.

Michelson, Annette. “Reading Eisenstein Reading ‘Capital.’” October 2 (2006) 26-38.

Morley, Catherine. Don DeLillo’s Transatlantic Dialogue with Sergei Eisenstein. Journal of American Studies, 40.1 (2006): 17-34.

–Violeta Stojmenovic

Reflections on Don DeLillo’s Underworld

I discovered Don DeLillo after reading Infinite Jest the summer I graduated from college.

I was working as a production assistant on an independently produced film and snuck into the actors’ trailers to read during lunch breaks or when I was not needed on set. I could not believe such a novel existed and that it had captured the historical significance of my generation’s lifestyle so perfectly. It was the first time I felt inclined to research an author’s influences and although I was led to Thomas Pynchon, Jonathan Franzen, and Cormac McCarthy, every biography or article I read made clear that Don DeLillo was the most influential figure in David Foster Wallace’s life. While driving back to New York from Milwaukee (where the movie was filmed), I stopped at a Barnes and Noble and picked up White Noise, devoured it, and have been hooked on DeLillo since.

After completing Underworld I’m left awestruck and dazed. It has given me a cleansing awareness of paranoid systems and has touched something more intimate than flesh; the book has instilled a kind of knowing that breaches a cellular level and lingers in the mind long after the last page is read.

Underworld dives into under-history, examining the imaginations, longings, guilts, triumphs, and secrets of men, women, and nations. DeLillo contemplates the lasting fight for stability paralleling the lasting threats of destruction. He magnifies the oppressed voices of history that continue to speak to their fringe groups of followers and believers yet remain no match to the states military devices.

The book questions what the creation of nuclear weapons means to humanity; from who invented them to who controls them, to who will wreak the havoc of them, and what harm they have already caused the earth. It’s interesting that the plutonian seeps to a sort of Plutonic underworld.

I read Underworld in the fall of 2014, while constantly being swamped with news on the escalating crisis in Ukraine and rekindled tensions between the US, NATO and Russia.

Underworld could not be a more relevant novel today and provides an excellent backstory for the events taking place in this Post-post Cold War era we are entering. DeLillo tackles the largest global issue since World War II, The Cold war, from the inside out. Infinite Jest examines the psychological torture of children growing up in this age and some of the horrors the future may hold, whereas Underworld does a hauntingly wonderful job of realizing how we arrived here

–Samuel Fuhrer


Recent and Upcoming DeLillo News

The University of Sussex will be hosting a one-day conference titled “Don DeLillo: The State of Fiction” on June 10, 2015. They keynote speaker is John Duvall (Purdue University)

DeLillo is scheduled to appear at the First Annual Gilbert Sorrentino Birthday Tribute in Brooklyn, NY on April 27, 2015. See the event listing at the Green Light Bookstore for more details.

As Jesse Kavadlo notes above, DeLillo’s annotated copy of Underworld was auctioned at Christie’s PEN American Center’s First Editions/Second Thoughts benefit on December 2, 2014. It raised $57,000.

DeLillo received the Mailer Prize Lifetime Achievement on October 27, 2014.

DeLillo reviewed Taylor Swift’s “Track 3” for The Atlantic on October 22, 2014.

DeLillo’s play, The Word for Snow, was published by Karma and Glenn Horowitz in June 2014.

Lois Wallace, DeLillo’s literary agent for many years, died on April 4, 2014. \

DeLillo was named as the initial recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction at the National Book Festival in Washington D. C. in September 2013.

Don DeLillo Society News

The Don DeLillo society has a new webmaster, Aaron DeRosa, and a new bibliographer, Karim Daanoune.

The Don DeLillo Society Officer positions will remain in effect until January 1, 2016. Any member of the Don DeLillo Society may submit nominations for any or all of these positions. The next group of officers (which may include current officers, if they run and are elected) will serve three-year terms, starting January 1, 2016. Nominations must be received by June 1, 2015. Please include contact information for nominees. Send them to Aaron DeRosa at We will hold elections in the fall of 2015.

The Don DeLillo Society is sponsoring a panel at the American Literature Association’s 26th Annual Conference in Boston, MA on Saturday, May 23 2015:

DeLillo’s Influence/ Influences

Chair: Andrew Strombeck, Wright State University

  • Our pretense is a dedication: Surface and Sacrament in White Noise, Ray Horton, Case Western Reserve University
  • Staging the World on 47th Street in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis Jung-Suk Hwang, University at Buffalo
  • The Megaton Novel of U.S. Bureaucracy: Libra’s Influence on The Pale King, Jeffrey Severs, University of British Columbia

A Note from the Editor

I’d like to offer thanks to all those who contributed material to this issue of the newsletter.

If you’d like to send comments, reviews, or short articles for the next issue of the newsletter, please email them to me at (deadline: October 15th, 2015).

–Anne Longmuir



Samuel Fuhrer studied Theater and Neuroscience at Muhlenberg College, and was the Baccalaureate speaker at his graduation in 2013. He fronts the band Sam & Margot and works as a cognitive aide and yoga teacher in New York City.  Sam is honored to be getting published in The Don DeLillo Society and hopes to contribute more in the future.

Jesse Kavadlo is President of the Don DeLillo Society and a Professor of English at Maryville University in St. Louis.  He is the author of Don DeLillo: Balance at the Edge of Belief and the forthcoming American Popular Culture in the Era of Terror: Falling Skies, Dark Knights Rising, and Collapsing Cultures.

Anne Longmuir (DDS Newsletter Editor) is an Associate Professor of English at Kansas State University. She completed a Ph.D. on the fiction of Don DeLillo at the University of Edinburgh in 2003 and has published articles on DeLillo’s work in Critique, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Narrative Theory, and Modern Language Studies.

Violeta Stojmenovic is a PhD candidate at Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Serbia and a senior librarian at the Public Library Bor. She has recently submitted her doctoral thesis under the title “Chronotopes and Carnivalisation in Don DeLillo’s Novels.” She has published numerous articles, essays, reviews and a few translations in Serbian journals, among which are four papers on Don DeLillo in Serbian academic, peer-reviewed journals ( and reviews of Cosmopolis and Body Artist.

CFP: DD Society @ U of Sussex

The State of Fiction: Don DeLillo in the 21st Century

10 June 2015, University of Sussex

Writing also means trying to advance the art. Fiction hasn’t quite been filled in or done in or worked out. We make our small leaps.
Don DeLillo, 1982

This one-day conference will address the state of fiction in contemporary American culture by focusing on the extensive oeuvre of Don DeLillo, from the 1970s to the present day and beyond. DeLillo commented shortly after the publication of The Names that fiction had not yet been ‘filled in,’ ‘done in,’ or ‘worked out.’ How do we read this thirty years later, in the shadow of not only DeLillo’s major works but also the events that have characterised our move into the Twenty-First Century? How have DeLillo’s small leaps between the New York of Players (1977) and the New York of Falling Man (2007) ‘filled in’ fiction? Has DeLillo’s pervasive influence across contemporary American culture ‘done in’ postmodernism? Is the novel in the Twenty First Century already ‘worked out’?

Proposals for presentations of 20 minutes or for pre-formed panels of 1 hour are invited; topics, which should be rooted in the work of DeLillo, may include but are not limited to:

  • The novelist in contemporary (American) culture: canonicity, influence, consumption
  • New contexts: 9/11, Occupy, neoliberalism, globalisation
  • ‘The Power of History’: the state and the shadow-state, popular culture, paranoia
  • New realisms: crisis, terror, apocalypse, childhood, metafiction
  • Language: the individual and the crowd, the everyday and the event, ekphrasis
  • New forms: genres, adaptations, translations, multilingualism
  • The ends of postmodernism? Forebears, afterlives, lateness
  • Environment, global warming and waste

Submissions that are interdisciplinary in nature are particularly encouraged. Abstracts of up to 250 words in length and a brief biographical note should be submitted at by 19 March 2015.

Bibliography update October 2014

  • Books

Paryz, Marek, ed. Don DeLillo. Warszawa: Warsaw University Press, 2012 [in Polish]. Contents:

  • Paryz, Marek. Introduction. “Don DeLillo: ‘I’m Not Trying to Manipulate Reality.’”7-14.
  • Kolbuszewska, Zofia. “The Mӧbius Strip as the Trajectory of the American Myth (Americana and Ratner’s Star).” 15-31.
  • Paryz, Marek. “The Parameters of Impasse (End Zone, Great Jones Street, The Names).” 33-52 and “Algorithms, Systems, Spaces, or the Exteriority of Existence (Players).” 53-69.
  • Warso, Anna. “Running Dog: Nothing Is One’s Own.” 71-84.
  • Rychter, Marcin, and Mikolaj Wisniewski. “Excess of Information: A Conversation on White Noise.” 85-102.
  • Krawczyk-Laskarzewska, Anna. “Libra, or the Immeasurable Balance of Scales.” 103-126.
  • Bartczak, Kacper. “The Novel as a Non-Mass Entity and the Birth of Its Author (Mao II).” 127-153.
  • Kociatkiewicz, Justyna. “The Cold War Picture Book (Underworld).” 155-170.
  • Ladyga, Zuzanna. “Paroxytonic Postmodernity: Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” 171-185.
  • Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Hair in the Mouth, or On Speaking in Tongues (The Body Artist).” 187-201.
  • Antoszek, Andrzej. “In the Net of Capital, Technology, and… Feelings? (Cosmopolis)” 203-217.
  • Maslowski, Maciej. “Literature as a Counter-Narrative (Falling Man).” 219-242
  • Maslowski, Maciej. “Watching the Universe Die on 120 Pages (Point Omega).” 243-261.

Gourley, James. Terrorism and Temporality in the Works of Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo. London, Bloomsbury, 2013. [adresses mainly Mao II, Cosmopolis, Falling Man, Point Omega].

Pass, Phill. The Language of Self. Strategies of Subjectivity in the Novels of Don DeLillo. Peter Lang, 2014.


  • Sections of books

Ahearn, Edward J. “DeLillo’s Global City.” Epilogue. Urban Confrontations in Literature and Social Science, 1848-2001: European Contexts, American Evolutions. Ahearn (Ed.). Farnham: Ashgate, 2010. 181-203.

Antoszek, Andrzej. “‘Who Will Clean Up All This Waste?’ Post-Cold War America in Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” Post-Cold War Europe, Post-Cold War America. Eds. Ruud Janssens and Rob Kroes. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2004. 171-177.

Antoszek, Andrzej. “America’s Underworld According to Don DeLillo.” W kanonie prozy amerykańskiej. Od Nathaniela Hawthorne’a do Joyce Carol Oates. Ed. Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich. Warszawa: Academica, 2007. 166-177. (in Polish).

Bachner, Sally. “The Hammers Striking the Page: Don DeLillo and the Violent Politics of Language.” The Prestige of Violence: American Fiction, 1962-2007. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2011. 123-141.

Baker, Stephen. “‘Now More Than Ever’: Death and Cultural Consumption in Don DeLillo.” The Fiction of Postmodernity. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000: 81-122. (mostly Libra, White Noise and Mao II).

Banita, Georgiana. “Falling Man Fiction: DeLillo, Spiegelman, Schulman, and the Spectatorial Condition.” Plotting Justice: Narrative Ethics and Literary Culture after 9/11. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012. 59-108.

Bartczak, Kacper. “Communication and Passion: The Language Aesthetics of Don DeLillo.” Reflections on Ethical Values in Post(?)Modern American Literature. Eds. Teresa Pyzik. Katowice: University of Silesia Press, 2000. 79-89.

Bartczak, Kacper. “A Certain Amount of the Unknown – The Argument of the Bodily in Don DeLillo.” Folia Litteraria Anglica: Acta Universitas Lodziensis 5 (2001): 5-18.

Boxall, Peter. « Slow Man, Dangling Man, Falling Man: Beckett in the Ruins of the Future ». Since Beckett. Contemporary Writing in the Wake of Modernism. London: Continuum Literary Studies, 2009. 166-199.

Breitbach, Julia. “Liminal Realism: Don DeLillo, The Body Artist (2001).” Analog Fictions for the Digital Age: Literary Realism and Photographic Discourses in Novels After 2000. Camden House, 2012. 72-114.

Chauvin, Serge. “L’œil des foules: DeLillo, Mao, la photo.” [“The Eye of the Crowd: DeLillo, Mao, Photography”]. Jardins d’hiver. Littérature et photographie. Ed. Marie‑D. Garnier. Paris: Presses de l’École Normale Supérieure, 1997. 187–189.

Coale, Samuel Chase. Paradigms of Paranoia. The Culture of Conspiracy in Contemporary American Fiction. Tucsaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2005. (chapter 5: Mystic Musings in a Paranoid’s Paradise 87-134)

Codebo, Marco. “Libra by Don DeLillo.” Narrating from the Archive Novels, Records, and Bureaucrats in the Modern Age. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2010. 137-157.

Consonni, Stefania. “A Sculptor’s Sense of Words’: Don DeLillo’s Neo-Realism and the Three-Dimensionality of Narrative Plots.” The Hand of the Interpreter: Essays on Meaning After Theory. Eds. G. F. Mitrano and Eric Jarosinski. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009. 329-360.

Cvek, Sven. Towering Figures: Reading the 9/11 Archive. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011. (Include chapter 6: The Market Moves Us in Mysterious Ways. 123-150; chapter 7: Cosmopolis : A Meditation on Deterritorialization 151-210 ; chapter 8: Killing Politics: The Art of Recovery in Falling Man 181-210.)

doCarmo, Stephen N. “Subjects, Objects, and the Postmodern Differend in Don DeLillo’s White Noise.” History and Refusal Consumer Culture and Postmodern Theory in the Contemporary American Novel. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2009. 150-192.

Ferguson, Robert A. “Don DeLillo and Marilynne Robinson Mourn Loss.” Alone in America: The Stories that Matter. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2013. 201-230. [Falling Man in contrast with Robinson’s Gilead].

Fiedorczuk, Julia. “Against Simulation: ‘Zen’ Terrorism and the Ethics of Self-Annihilation in Don DeLillo’s Players.” Ideology and Rhetoric: Constructing America. Ed. Bozena Chylinska. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 41-50.

Fujii, Hikaru. “Time and Again: The Outside and the Narrative Pragmatics in Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist.Outside, America. The Temporal Turn in Contemporary American Fiction. New York, Bloomsbury, 2013. 83-93.

Gardaphé, Fred L.. “(Ex)Tending or Escaping Ethnicity: Don DeLillo and Italian/American Literature.” Beyond The Margin: Readings in Italian Americana. Paolo Giordano and Anthony Julian Tamburri (Eds.). Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998. 131-151.

Gauthier, Marni. Amnesia and Redress in Contemporary American Fiction. Counterhistory. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. [Chapter 2 entitled “‘The Downfall of the Empire and the Emergence of Detergents’: Underhistory in Don DeLillo’s Historical Novels”, (41-67) addresses Americana, Libra and Underworld]. Chapter 6 “Truth-telling Fiction in a Post-9/11 World: Don DeLillo’s Falling Man and Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine” (151-182).

Gourley, James. “‘Whenever said said said missaid’: Diminshment in Beckett’s Worstward Ho and DeLillo’s The Body Artist.” Anthony Uhlmann, (ed.), Literature and Sensation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.

Greenspan, Daniel. « Don DeLillo: Kierkegaard and the Grave in the Air », in Jon Stewart (Ed.), Kierkegaard’s Influence on Literature, Criticism and Art Volume 12, Tome IV (The Anglophone World), 2013. 81-100.

Hamdy, Noha. “Revisiting Transmediality : 9/11 Between Spectacle and Narrative”. Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-nation. Sarah Säckel, Walter Göbel, Noha Hamdy (Eds). Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2009. 247- ? [Falling Man]

Hodgkins, John. “An Epidemic of Seeing: DeLillo, Postmodernism, and Fiction in the Age of Images.” The Drift: Affect, Adaptation, and New Perspectives on Fidelity. New York, Bloomsbury, 2013: 53-76. [adresses only Underworld]

Hornung, Alfred. “Terrorist Violence and Transnational Memory: Jonathan Safran Foer and Don DeLillo.” Transnational American Memories. Ed. Udo Hebel. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009. 171-83.

Hungerford, Amy. Postmodern Belief. American Literature and Religion Since 1960. Chapter 3 “The Latin Mass of Language. Vatican II, Catholic Media, Don DeLillo”. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. 52-75.

Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Don DeLillo, or Writing as a Form of Thinking.” Znaki firmowe. Szkice o współczesnej prozie amerykańskiej i kanadyjskiej. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2007: 166-135. (in Polish).

Kelman, David. “Catachrestic Tales, or What is a Political Event? (DeLillo)”. Counterfeit Politics: Secret Plots and Conspiracy Narratives in the Americas. Bucknell University Press, 2012.

Klepper, Martin. Pynchon, Auster, DeLillo. Die amerikanische Postmoderne zwischen Spiel und Rekonstruktion. Campus Verlag, 1996. 320-363 [White Noise].

Kociatkiewicz, Justyna. “Trying to Exercise One’s Freedom: Mrs. Oswald’s Voice in Don DeLillo’s Libra.” American Freedoms, American (Dis)Orders. Ed. Zbigniew Lewicki. Warszawa: American Studies Center, 2006. 23-30.

Kociatkiewicz, Justyna. “Don DeLillo’s Rhetoric of Exhaustion and Ideology of Obsolescence: The Case of Cosmopolis.” Ideology and Rhetoric: Constructing America. Ed. Bozena Chylinska. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 29-40.

Kociatkiewicz, Justyna. “History as Loss, History as Waste: American Twentieth Century in the Novels of Bellow and DeLillo.” The American Uses of History: Essays on Public Memory. Eds. Tomasz Basiuk, Sylwia Kuzma-Markowska, and Krystyna Mazur. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011. 235-244.

Kociatkiewicz, Justyna. “The Problems of Language and Communication in Don DeLillo’s The Names.” New Developments in English and American Studies: Continuity and Change. Eds. Zygmunt Mazur and Teresa Bela. Krakow: Universitas, 1997. 333-346.

Kolbuszewska, Zofia. “Looping Out of a Postmodern Vicious Circle: White Noise, (Neo)Romantic Child and Autopoetics.” Structure and Uncertainty. Eds. Ludmila Gruszewska Blaim and Artur Blaim. Maria Curie-Sklodowska University Press, 2008. 47-64.

Ladino, Jennifer K. Reclaiming Nostalgia. Longing for Nature in American Literature. Charlottesville and London, University of Virginia Press, 2012. [Chapitre 5: Don DeLillo’s Postmodern Homesickness: Nostalgia after the End of Nature (163-187)].

Landgraff, Edgar. “Black Boxes and White Noise. Don DeLillo and the Reality of Literature”. Addressing Modernity: Social Systems Theory and U.S. Cultures. Hannes Bergthaller (Ed.). Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2011. 86-112.

Little, William G.. The Waste Fix: Seizures of the Sacred from Upton Sinclair to “The Sopranos”. New York and London: Routledge, 2002: 93–116. [White Noise].

Martin-Salvan, Paula. “Community and Otherness: The Representation of Terrorists in Don DeLillo’s Fiction.” Eds. Sylvie Mathé & Sophie Vallas. European Perspectives on the Literature of 9/11. Paris, Michel Houdiard, 2014. 81-96.

Maslowski, Maciej. “‘Like nothing in this life’: The Concept of Historic Time in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” The American Uses of History: Essays on Public Memory. Eds. Tomasz Basiuk, Sylwia Kuzma-Markowska, and Krystyna Mazur. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011. 245-254.

Maucione, Jessica. “Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis and the Nostalgic Spatio-Linguistics of America’s Global City.” Literature of New York. Ed. Sabrina Fuchs-Adams. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 151-166.

Meurer, Ulrich. “Somatic Narratives: Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist and the Invention of a Metastable Self”. Susanne Kollmann, Kathrin Schödel (eds.). Postmoderne De/Konstruktionen. Ethik, Politik und Kultur am Ende einer Epoche. Diskursive Produktionen 7, Münster: Lit, 2004. 229-241.

Meurer, Ulrich. “Double-Mediated Terrorism: Gerhardt Richter and Don DeLillo’s ‘Baader-Meinhof’”, Michael C. Frank, Eva Gruber (eds.): Literature and Terrorism. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012: 175-194.

Michael, Magali Cornier. “Don DeLillo’s Falling Man: Countering Post-9/11 Narratives of Heroic Masculinity.” Portraying 9/11: Essays on Representations in Comics, Literature, Film and Theatre. Ed. Véronique Bragard, Christophe Dony, and Warren Rosenberg. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011. 73–88.

Misztal, Arkadiusz. “Articulating the Time-Experience: Scientific and Parascientific Images of Time in Ratner’s Star by Don DeLillo.” American Experience – The Experience of America. Eds. Andrzej Ceynowa and Marek Wilczynski. Frankfurt am Mein: Peter Lang, 2013. 207-212.

Muller, Christin. “Fate and Terror in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Engaging Terror: A Critical and Interdiscplinary Approach. M. Vardalos, G. K. Letts, H.M. Teixeira, A. Karzai, J. Haig (Eds.) Boca Raton: Brown Walker Press, 2009. 167-174.

Naas, Michael. “Autonomy, Autoimmunity, and the Stretch Limo: From Derrida’s Rogue State to DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Derrida From Now On. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008. 147-166.

Norton, Charly. “Terror as Text: DeLillo’s Falling Man and the Representation of Poker as Terror.” Engaging Terror: A Critical and Interdiscplinary Approach. M. Vardalos, G. K. Letts, H.M. Teixeira, A. Karzai, J. Haig (Eds.) Boca Raton: Brown Walker Press, 2009: 175-184.

Parrish, Timothy. “History after Henry Adams and Ronal Reagan: Joan Didion’s Democracy and Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” From the Civil War to the Apocalypse: Postmodern History and American Fiction. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008. 193-231.

Paryz, Marek. “Dangerous Liaisons (Don DeLillo’s Players).” 157-161 and “Entanglements (Don DeLillo’s Mao II).” 162-166 and “Free Fall (Don DeLillo’s Falling Man).” 167- 171. Od Ralpha Ellisona do Jhumpy Lahiri. Szkice o prozie amerykańskiej XX i początku XXI wieku. Warszawa: Warsaw University Press, 2011 (in Polish).

Phillips, Thomas. “Echenoz, Fabre, DeLillo.” The Subject of Minimalism: On Aesthetics, Agency and Becoming. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 73-92 [The Body Artist].

Polley, Jason S.. Jane Smiley, Jonathan Franzen, Don DeLillo. Narrative of Everyday Justice.  New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2011. 175-242.

Rochlitz, Rainer. L’art au banc d’essai: esthétique et critique. Paris: Gallimard, 1998. 259-302 [Mao II].

Rosen, Elizabeth K. “All the Expended Faith: Apocalyptism in Don DeLillo’s Novels.” Apocalyptic Transformation: Apocalypse and the Postmodern Imagination. Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2008. 143-173.

Rossini, Jon D. “DeLillo, Performance, and the Denial of Death.” Death in American Texts and Performances: Corpses, Ghosts, and the Reanimated Death. Eds. Lisa K. Perdigao and Mark Pizzato. Ashgate Publishing Limited: Surrey, 2010. 45-62.

Ruckh, W. Eric. “Theorizing Globalization: At the Intersection of Bataille’s Solar Economy, DeLillo’s Underworld and Hardt’s and Negri’s Empire.” European Culture in a Changing World: Between Nationalism and Globalism. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe (Ed.). Amersham: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2004. 117-139.

Russo, John Paul. “Don DeLillo: Ethnicity, Religion, and the Critique of Technology.” The Future without a Past: The Humanities in a Technological Society. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2005. 211-242.

Sample, Mark L. “Don DeLillo and the Failiure if the Digital Humanities.” Matthew K. Gold (Ed.) Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 187-201.

Schryer, Stephen. “Don DeLillo’s Academia. Revisiting the New Class in White Noise”. Fantasies of the New Class: Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II Amreican Fiction. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011: 167-192.

Smethurst, Paul. “The Trope of Placelessness: Graham Swift, Out of this World, Don DeLillo, Ratner’s Star and The Names.” The Postmodern Chronotope. (Eds. Theo D’haen and Hans Bertens). Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000. 267–309.

Smith, Les W.. “Author’s Confession Of: Mao II”. Confession in the Novel Bakhtin’s Author Revisited. 122-147. [Mao II]

Storhoff, Gary. “A Deeper Kind of Truth: Buddhist Themes in Don DeLillo’s Libra.Writing as Enlightenemnt: Buddhist American Literature into the Twenty-First Century. Edited by John Whalen Bridge. Albany: State University of New York, 2011. 109-132

Taylor, Mark C. Rewiring the Real: In Conversation with William Gaddis, Richard Powers, Mark Danielewski, and Don DeLillo (Religion, Culture, and Public Life). Columbia University Press, 2013. [chapter 4 entitled “Holy Shit!” deals with Underworld]. 156-249.

Treguer, Florian. “La neutralisation des sujets chez Don DeLillo.” Les Représentations de la mort. Bernard-Marie Garreau (Ed.). Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2002. 277-294. [“Neutralizing the Subjects in DeLillo’s Works”].

Vukovich, Daniel F. “DeLillo, Warhol, and the Specter of Mao. The ‘Sinologization of Global Thought.’” China and Orientalism. Western Knowledge Production and the P.R.C. Routledge, 2012. 87-99. [Mao II]

Webb, Jen. “Fiction and Testimony in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” International Life Writing. Memory and Identity in Global Context. Paul Longley Arthur (Ed.). Routledge, 2013: 91-105.

Wolf, Philipp. Modernization and the crisis of Memory. John Donne to DeLillo. Costerus New Series 139. Amesterdam: Rodopi, 2002. 169-192 [Underworld].

  • Articles

Abe, Naomi. “Triangulation and Gender Perspectives in Falling Man by Don DeLillo”. Altre Modernità Rivista di studi letterari e culturali 6 (November 2011): 65-75.

Baelo-Allué, Sonia. “9/11 and the Psychic Trauma Novel Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Atlantis : Journal of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies 34.1 (June 2012): 63-79.

Bartczak, Kacper. “Technology and the Bodily in Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist and Cosmopolis.” Polish Journal for American Studies 5 (2011): 111-126.

Bartczak, Kacper. “Escape.” Literatura 12 (1998): 21-23. (an essay on White Noise written in Polish).

Bartczak, Kacper. “Landscapes of Radical Self-Knowledge in Don DeLillo and John Ashbery.” Apocalypse Now: Prophecy and Fulfillment. Eds. Agnieszka Salska and Zbigniew Maszewski. Lodz: University of Lodz Press, 2001. 236-247.

Batt, Noëlle. “Fiction, Narration, Composition esthétique. Ou chercher la vérité de l’œuvre littéraire ? Point Omega de Don DeLillo”. “La vérité en fiction”, Théorie, Littérature, Enseignement n° 28. Vincennes: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2012: 109-121.

Batt, Noëlle. “The Body Artist de Don DeLillo: le pas de deux de l’art et de la clinique”. Revue Française d’Études Américaines [French Review of American Studies] 132 (mars 2013): 63-74.

Bauer, Sylvie. “Emergence du réel dans How German Is It de Walter Abish et White Noise de Don DeLillo” [“The Emergence of the Real in Walter Abish’s How German Is It and Don DeLillo’s White Noise”] Confluences n°XIV (1997): 107-118.

Bjerre, Thomas Ærvold. “Post-9/11 Literary Masculinities in Kalfus, DeLillo, and Hamid.” Orbis litterarum 67.3 (2012): 241-266.

Boxall, Peter. “Late: Fictional Time in the Twenty-First Century.” Contemporary Literature 53.4 (Winter 2012): 681-712. [addresses Americana, Players, Underworld, The Body Artist, Cosmopolis and Point Omega].

Brauner, David. “‘The Days After’ and ‘the Ordinary Run of Hours’. Counternarratives and Double Vision in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man”, Review of International American Studies 3.3-4.1 (Winter 2008-Spring 2009): 72-81.

Caporale Bizzini, Silvia. “Resisting the postmodern historical vision: imag(in)ing history in Don DeLillo’s Libra”. The Atlantic Literary Review 2.1 (Jan.- March 2001): 119-136.

Carroll, Hamilton. “‘Like Nothing in this Life’: September 11 and the Limits of Representation in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Studies in American Fiction 40.1 (Spring 2013): 107-130.

Conniff, Brian. “DeLillo’s Ignatian Moment: Religious Longing and Theological Encounter in Falling Man.” Christianity and Literature 63.1 (Autumn 2013): 47-73.

Cowart, David. “Don DeLillo and Postmodern History.” The Legacy of History: English and American Studies and the Significance of the Past. Vol. 1. Eds. Teresa Bela and Zygmunt Mazur. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press, 2003: 13-32.

Cowart, David. “The Lady Vanishes: Don DeLillo’s Point Omega.” Contemporary Literature 53.1 (Spring 2012): 31-50.

Cruz, Daniel. “Writing Back, Moving Forward: Falling Man and DeLillo’s Previous Works.” Italian Americana 29.2 (Summer 2011): 138–52.

Cvek, Sven. “Killing Politics: The Art of Recovery in Falling Man”. Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabienssia LIV, (2009): 329-352.

Daanoune, Karim. “Passeurs, transpasseurs et outrepasseurs. La figure de l’enfant dans White Noise et The Names de Don DeLillo” [The Child as Conveyor in White Noise and The Names”]. La figure du Passeur. Transmission et mobilité culturelles dans les mondes anglophones. Eds. Pascale Antolin, Arnaud Schmitt, Susan Barrett & Paul Veyret. Pessac, Maison des Sciences de L’Homme d’Aquitaine, 2014. 279-292.

Daanoune, Karim. “Dialectics of Possibility and Impossibility. Writing the Event in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Eds. Sylvie Mathé & Sophie Vallas. European Perspectives on the Literature of 9/11. Paris, Michel Houdiard, 2014. 70-80.

Daanoune, Karim. “’I feel located totally nowhere.’ Matérialité et immatérialité dans Cosmopolis de Don DeLillo” [Materiality and Immateriality in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis]. Eds. O. Boucher-Rivalain, P. Blin-Cordon, F. Martin-McInnes and F. Ropert. “L’étranger dans la ville.” Cahiers du CICC. Paris, L’Harmattan, 2013. 119-134.

Daniele, Daniela. “Coppie in dissolvenza: Don DeLillo e lo spazio psichico del trauma”. Altre Modernità Rivista di studi letterari e culturali 6 (November 2011): 47-64.

Daniele, Daniela. “The Achromatic Room: DeLillo’s Plays On and Off Camera.” Italian Americana 29.2 (Summer 2011): 167-180.

Daniele, Daniela. “The Missing Father, and Other Unhyphenated Stories of Waste and Beauty in Don(ald) DeLillo”, in “The Emerging Canon of Italian-American Literature”, eds. Leonardo Buonomo and John Paul Russo. RSA Journal 21-22 (2010-2011): 111-117.

Davidson, Ian. “Automobility, Materiality and Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Cultural Geographies 19.4 (2012): 469-482.

De Marco, Alessandra. “Late DeLillo, Finance Capital and Mourning from The Body Artist to Point Omega”. 49th Parallel 28 (Spring 2012)

De Marco, Alessandra. “‘Morbid tiers of immortality’: Don DeLillo’s Players and the financialisation of the USA.” Textual Practice 27.5 (August 2013): 875-898.

Den Tandt, Christophe. “Pragmatic Commitments: Postmodern Realism in Don DeLillo, Maxine Hong Kingston and James Ellroy.” Beyond Postmodernism: Reassassments in Literature, Theory, and Culture. Klaus Stierstorfer (Ed.). Berlin: Wlater de Gruyter, 2003: 121-142.

Devetak, Richard. “After the Event: Don DeLillo’s White Noise and September 11 Narratives.” Review of International Studies 35.4 (October 2009): 795-815.

Finigan, Theo. ““There’s Something Else That’s Generating This Event”: The Violence of the Archive in Don DeLillo’s Libra.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 55.2 (2014): 187-205.

Greenwald Smith, Rachel. “Organic Shrapnel: Affect and Aesthetics in September 11 Fiction”. American Literature 83.1 (March 2011): 153-174. [Addresses Falling Man along with Hunt’s The Exquisite and Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close].

Harack, Katrina. “Embedded and Embodied Memories: Body, Space, and Time in Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Falling Man.” Contemporary Literature 54.2 (Summer 2013): 303-336.

Heffernan, Nick. “’Money Is Talking to Itself: Finance Capitalism in the Fiction of Don DeLillo from Players to Cosmopolis.” Critical Engagements 1 (autumn 2007): 53-78.

Henneberg, Julian. “‘Something Extraordinary Hovering Just Outside Our Touch’: The Technological Sublime in Don DeLillo’s White Noise.aspeers 4 (2011): 51-73.

Heyne, Eric. “‘A Bruised Cartoonish Quality’: The Death of an American Supervillain in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 54.4 (2013): 438-451

Isaacson, Johanna. “Postmodern Wastelands: Underworld and the Productive Failures of Periodization.” Criticism 54:1 (Winter 2012): 29-58.

Keeble, Arin. “Marriage, Relationships, and 9/11: The Seismographic Narratives of Falling Man, The Good Life, and The Emperor’s Children. The Modern Language Review 106.2 (April 2011): 355-373.

Kohn, Robert E. Parody, “Heteroglossia, and Chronotope in Don DeLillo’s Great Jones Streets.Style 39.2 (Summer 2005), p206-216.

Leps, Marie-Christine. “How to Map the Non-place of Empire: DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Textual Practice 28.2 (March 2014): 305-327.

Levey, Nick. “Crisis and Control in Don DeLillo’s White Noise.” The Explicator 71.1 (2012): 11-13.

Ludwig, Kathryn. “Don DeLillo’s Underworld and the Postsecular in Contemporary Fiction.” Religion & Literature 41.3 (Autumn 2009): 82-91.

Marks, John. “’Everything is connected’”: Deleuze et DeLillo. Théorie – Littérature – Enseignement 19: Deleuze-chantier. Ed. Noëlle Batt. Saint Denis: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, Université Paris 8, 2001: 77-93. [Underworld]

Marshall, Alan. “From This Point on It’s All about Loss: Attachment to Loss in the Novels of Don DeLillo, from Underworld to Falling Man.” Journal of American Studies 47.3 (August 2013): 621-636.

McCormick, Casey J. “Toward a Postsecular “Fellowship of Deep Belief”: Sister Edgar’s Techno-spiritual Quest in Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 54.1 (2013): 96-107.

Merola, Nicole M. “Cosmopolis: Don DeLillo’s Melancholy Political Ecology.” American Literature 84.4 (December 2012): 827-853.

Morris, David B.. “Environment: The White Noise of Health”. Literature and Medicine 15.1 (1996): 1-15.

Nagano, Yoshihiro. “Inside the Dream of the Warfare State: Mass and Massive Fantasies in Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 51.3 (Spring 2010): 241-256.

Naydan, Liliana M. “Apocalyptic Cycles in Don DeLillo’s Underworld”. LIT:Literature Interpretation Theory 23 (2012): 179 – 201

Noble, Stuart. “Don DeLillo and Society’s Reorientation to Time and Space: An Interpretation of Cosmopolis.” aspeers 1 (2008): 57-70.

Noon, David. “The Triumph of Death: National Security and Imperial Erasures in Don DeLillo’s Underworld.” Canadian Review of American Studies 37.1 (2007) 83-110.

Osteen, Mark. “Extraordinary Renditions: DeLillo’s Point Omega and Hitchcock’s Psycho.” Clues: A Journal of Detection 31.1 (2013): 103-13. Reprint “Extraordinary Renditions: DeLillo’s Point Omega and Hitchcock’s Psycho.” Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen. Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. 261-77.

Osteen, Mark.“The Currency of DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 55.3 (2014): 291-304.

Panzani, Ugo. “The insistent realism of Don DeLillo’s Falling Man and Paul Auster’s Man in the Dark”. Altre Modernità Rivista di studi letterari e culturali 6 (November 2011): 76-90.

Parish, Mary J. “9/11 and the Limitations of the Man’s Man Construction of Masculinity in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 53:3 (2012): 185-200

Pellegrin, Jean-Yves. “Le désordre du discours dans End Zone de Don DeLillo” [“The Disorder of Discourse in DeLillo’s End Zone”]. Revue Française d’Études Américaines  [French Review of American Studies] 76 (1998): 63-72.

Petersen, Per Serritslev. “Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis and the Dialectics of Complexity and Simplicity in Postmodern American Philosophy and Culture.” American Studies in Scandinavia 37.2 (2005): 70-84.

Pirnajmuddin, Hossein and Borhan, Abbassali. “Postmodern Orientalized Terrorism: Don DeLillo’s The Names.” The Journal of Teaching Language Skills 3.2 (Summer 2011), Ser. 63/4: 58-84.

Pirnajmuddin, Hossein and Borhan, Abbassali. “Don DeLillo’s The Names.” The Explicator 70.3 (2012): 226 – 230.

Polatinsky, Stefan, and Scherzinger, Karen. “Dying Without Death: Temporality, Writing, and Survival in Maurice Blanchot’s The Instant of My Death and Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 54.2 (2013): 124-134.

Robinson, Sally. “Shopping for the Real: Gender and Consumption in the Critical Reception of DeLillo’s White Noise.” Postmodern Culture 23.2 (January 2013).

Roger, Philippe. “Don DeLillo: la terreur et la pitié.” Critique 59.675-676 (2003): 554–570. [Cosmopolis]

Radia, Pavlina. “Doing the Lady Gaga Dance: Postmodern Transaesthetics and the Art of Spectacle in Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist.” Canadian Review of American Studies 44.2 (Summer 2014).

Rougé, Bertrand. “‘The Cloud tells you this…’. Pour une lecture diétrologique de Don DeLillo.” Transatlantica 1 (2002). [For a Dietrological Reading of Don DeLillo].

Savvas, Theophilus. “Don DeLillo’s ‘world inside the world.’ Libra and latent history.” European Journal of American Culture 29.1 (2010): 19-33.

Scherzinger, Karen. “‘A Deep Fold in the Grain of Things’: Mourning in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man.” Scrutiny 2 15.2 (2010): 17-30.

Schneck, Peter. “ ‘To see things before other people see them’. Don DeLillo’s Visual Poetics”. Amerikastudien [American Studies] 52.1, Transatlantic Perspective on American Visual Culture (2007): 103-120.

Shonkwiler, Alison. “Don DeLillo’s Financial Sublime.” Contemporary Literature 51.2 (Summer 2010): 246-282. [Cosmopolis]

Simon, Roger I. “Altering the ‘Inner Life of the Culture’: Monstrous Memory and the Persistence of 9/11.” The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 30.3 (2008): 352-374.

Spahr, Clemens. “Prolonged Suspension: Don DeLillo, Ian McEwan, and the Literary Imagination after 9/11.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 45.2 (2012): 221-37.

Taveira, Rodney. “Don DeLillo, 9/11 and the Remains of Fresh Kills.” M/C Journal 13.4 (2010): n. pag.

Treguer, Florian.“Ordre et désordre du sens dans The Names (1982) de Don DeLillo”. Revue Imaginaires 8, “L’ambiguïté dans les littératures de langue anglaise.” Daniel Thomières (Ed.), Université de Reims, 2002: 207-222. [“Order and Disorder in Don DeLillo’s The Names”].

Wakui, Takashi. “Abstract Animation, Conceptual Art, and Don DeLillo’s Underworld: collectibles and non-collectibles in art.” Studies in Language and Culture 22.2 (2001): 263-277.

Wiese, Annjeanette. “Rethinking Postmodern Narrativity: Narrative Construction and Identity Formation in Don DeLillo’s White Noise“. College Literature 39.3 (Summer 2012): 1-25.

Wilcox, Leonard. “Don DeLillo’s Libra: History as Text, History as Trauma”. Rethinking History 9. 2/3 (June/September 2005): 337-353.