Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo (dəlĬl´ō), 1936–, American novelist, b. New York City, grad. Fordham (1958). DeLillo is an accomplished prose stylist with a dark vision and mordant wit. In a steady stream of novels beginning with Americana (1971), he has explored the anomie and violence of contemporary America—rock music and drugs in Great Jones Street (1973), science and mathematics in Ratner's Star (1976), terrorism in Players (1977), spying in Running Dog (1978), and political corruption in The Names (1982). His White Noise (1985), the story of a Hitler studies professor and a meditation on the fear of death, was followed by Libra (1988), a fictional portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald, and Mao II (1991), about CIA activities in Greece. DeLillo's longest, most complicated, and most highly praised novel is Underworld (1997). In its sweep of time from 1951 to 1992, its panorama of American characters and landscapes, and its uniquely descriptive language, it portrays the variety of American life during the period.

Two relatively minor works followed—The Body Artist (2001), a dark and brief quasi–ghost story, and Cosmopolis (2003), a satire focused on a Manhattan billionaire. His next novel, Falling Man (2007), details the effects of 9/11 on a middle-class Manhattanite and his estranged wife and son. The spare, dread-haunted novella Point Omega (2010) focuses on a scholar who helped plan the Iraq war, now self-exiled in the desert, and his daughter and a filmmaker who follow him there. The Angel Esmeralda (2011), his only short-fiction collection, contains nine stories written over five decades. In Zero K (2016), his main characters struggle with life-and-death issues in a world marked by terrible disasters and everyday beauty. DeLillo also is a playwright.

See Conversations with Don DeLillo (2005), ed. by T. DePietro; studies by T. LeClair (1987), F. Lentricchia (1991), D. Keesey (1993), H. Ruppersburg and T. Engles, ed. (2000), M. Osteen (2000), D. Cowart (2002), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), J. Kavadlo (2004), P. Boxall (2005), J. Dewey (2006), and E. A. Martucci (2007).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Don DeLillo: Selected full-text books and articles

Understanding Don Delillo By Henry Veggian University of South Carolina Press, 2015
Off the Books: On Literature and Culture By J. Peder Zane University of South Carolina Press, 2015
A History of Our Time: Readings on Postwar America By William H. Chafe; Harvard Sitkoff; Beth Bailey Oxford University Press, 2003 (6th edition)
Librarian's tip: "In the Ruins of the Future: Reflections on Terror and Loss in the Shadow of September 11" by Don DeLillo begins on p. 459
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
History, Biography, and Narrative in Don DeLillo's "Libra."(novel about Lee Harvey Oswald) By Thomas, Glen Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 1, Spring 1997
Underwords: Perspectives on Don Delillo's Underworld By Joseph Dewey; Steven G. Kellman; Irving Malin University of Delaware Press, 2002
Readings from the New Book on Nature: Physics and Metaphysics in the Modern Novel By Robert Nadeau University of Massachusetts Press, 1981
Librarian's tip: Chap. 9 "Don DeLillo"
Ironic Mysticism in Don DeLillo's Ratner's Star By Little, Jonathan Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 35, No. 3, Summer 1999
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
"Things That Happen and What We Say about Them": Speaking the Ordinary in DeLillo's the Names By Mutter, Matthew Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 53, No. 4, Winter 2007
Reshaping Ideologies: Leftists as Terrorists/terrorists as Leftists in DeLillo's Novels By Velcic, Vlatka Studies in the Novel, Vol. 36, No. 3, Fall 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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