Don DeLillo: Wikis


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Don DeLillo
Born November 20, 1936 (1936-11-20) (age 73)
New York City
Occupation Novelist
Nationality United States
Literary movement Postmodern
Notable work(s) White Noise, Libra, Mao II, Underworld, Falling Man

Don DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an Italian-American author, playwright and occasional essayist whose work paints a detailed portrait of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. DeLillo's novels have tackled subjects as diverse as television, nuclear war, sports, the complexities of language, performance art, the Cold War, mathematics, the advent of the digital age, and global terrorism. He currently lives near New York City in the suburb of Bronxville[1] after a long spell in Westchester.



DeLillo was born on November 20, 1936 and grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City[2]. The child of Italian immigrants from the village of Montagano (Campobasso), he attended Fordham University in the Bronx, from which he received a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts upon his graduation in 1958[2].

As a teenager, DeLillo wasn't interested in writing until taking a summer job as a parking attendant, where hours spent waiting and watching over vehicles led to a reading habit: in a 2010 interview with The Australian, DeLillo reflected on this period by saying "I had a personal golden age of reading, in my 20s and my early 30s, and then my writing began to take up so much time,"[3]. After graduating from Fordham, DeLillo took a job in advertising because he couldn't get one in publishing. He worked for five years as a copywriter at the agency of Ogilvy & Mather on Fifth Avenue at East 48th Street[4], writing image ads for Sears Roebuck among others, before quitting in 1964. DeLillo published his first short story, "The River Jordan", in Epoch, the literary magazine of Cornell University, in 1960 and began to work on his first novel in 1966. Discussing the beginning of his writing career, DeLillo said, "I did some short stories at that time, but very infrequently. I quit my job just to quit. I didn't quit my job to write fiction. I just didn't want to work anymore."[5]

Novels of the 1970s

DeLillo's inaugural decade of novel writing has been his most productive to date, resulting in the writing and publication of six novels in eight years between 1971-1978.[3]

DeLillo's first novel, Americana, was written over the course of four years[2] and finally published in 1971, to modest critical praise. Americana concerned "a television network programmer who hits the road in search of the big picture"[2]. This novel was later revised by DeLillo in 1989 for paperback re-printing. Reflecting on the novel later in his career, DeLillo said admitted "I don't think my first novel would have been published today as I submitted it. I don't think an editor would have read 50 pages of it. It was very overdone and shaggy, but two young editors saw something that seemed worth pursuing and eventually we all did some work on the book and it was published."[6]

Americana was followed in rapid succession by the American college football/nuclear war black comedy End Zone (1972) and the rock and roll satire Great Jones Street (1973). In 1975, he married Barbara Bennett, a former banker turned landscape designer.

DeLillo's fourth novel, Ratner's Star (1976), took four years to write and drew numerous favorable comparisons to the works of Thomas Pynchon. This "conceptual monster", as DeLillo scholar Tom LeClair describes it, is "the picaresque story of a 14-year-old math genius who joins an international consortium of mad scientists decoding an alien message."[7] and has been cited by DeLillo as both one of the most difficult books to write[8] and his personal favourite of his own novels.

Following this early attempt at a major long novel, DeLillo ended the decade with two shorter works. Players (1977) concerned the lives of a young yuppie couple as they get involved witha cell of domestic terrorists, and Running Dog (1978) was a thriller concerning numerous individuals hunting down a celluloid reel of Adolf Hitler's sexual exploits.

In 1979, DeLillo was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, which he used to fund a trip around the Middle East before settling in Greece.[3]

Reflecting on his first six novels and his rapid writing turnover later in his career, DeLillo remarked, "I wasn't learning to slow down and examine what I was doing more closely. I don't have regrets about that work, but I do think that if I had been a bit less hasty in starting each new book, I might have produced somewhat better work in the 1970s. My first novel took so long and was such an effort that once I was free of it I almost became carefree in a sense and moved right through the decade, stopping, in a way, only at Ratner's Star (1976), which was an enormous challenge for me, and probably a bigger challenge for the reader. But I slowed down in the 1980s and 90s."[3]

Novels of the 1980s

The beginning of the 1980s saw the most unusual and uncharacteristic publication in DeLillo's career. The sports novel Amazons, a mock memoir of the first woman to play in the National Hockey League, is a far more light hearted and more evidently commercial novel than his previous and subsequent novels. DeLillo published the novel under the pseudonym Cleo Birdwell, and later requested publishers compiling a bibliography for a reprint of a later novel to expunge the novel from their lists.

While DeLillo spent several years living in Greece[9], he took three years[8] to write The Names (1982), a complex thriller concerning "a risk analyst who crosses paths with a cult of assassins in the Middle East"[2]. While lauded by an increasing number of literary critics, DeLillo was still relatively unknown outside of small academic circles and did not reach a wide readership with this novel. Also in 1982, DeLillo finally broke his self-imposed ban on media coverage by giving his first major interview to Tom LeClair[10], who had first tracked DeLillo down for an interview while he was in Greece in 1979 (on that occasion, DeLillo had handed LeClair a business card with his name printed on it and beneath that the message "I don't want to talk about it."[10])

With the publication of his eighth novel White Noise in 1985, DeLillo began a rapid ascendancy to being a noted and respected novelist. White Noise was arguably a major breakthrough both commercially and artistically for DeLillo, earning him a National Book Award[2] and a place among the academic canon of contemporary postmodern novelists. DeLillo remained as detached as ever from his growing reputation: when called upon to give an acceptance speech for the Award, he simply said, "I'm sorry I couldn't be here tonight, but I thank you all for coming," and then sat down.[1][11] The influence and impact of White Noise can be seen in the writing of such authors as David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith and Richard Powers (who provides an introduction to the 25th Anniversary edition of the novel)[9].

DeLillo followed White Noise with Libra (1988), a speculative fictionalised take on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald up to the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. Originally written with the working title of either "American Blood" or "Texas School Book," Libra became an international bestseller[2], earned DeLillo another nomination for the National Book Award, and won the Irish Times Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize the following year. The novel also elicited fierce critical division, with some critics praising DeLillo's take on the Kennedy assassination while others decried it. George Will, in a notorious Washington Post article[12], declared the book to be an affront to America and "an act of literary vandalism and bad citizenship."[12].

Novels of the 1990s

DeLillo's concerns about the position of the novelist and the novel in a media- and terrorist-dominated society were made clear in his next novel, Mao II (1991). Clearly influenced by the events surrounding the fatwa placed upon the author Salman Rushdie and the intrusion of the press into the life of the reclusive writer JD Salinger[2], Mao II earned DeLillo significant critical praise from, among others, fellow authors John Banville and Thomas Pynchon. He earned a PEN/Faulkner Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist nomination for Mao II in 1991 and 1992, respectively.

Following Mao II, DeLillo went to ground and spent several years writing and researching his eleventh novel. Aside from the publication of a folio short story entitled 'Pafko at the Wall' in a 1992 edition of Harpers Magazine, and one short story in 1995, little was seen or heard of him for a number of years.

In 1997, DeLillo finally broke cover with his long awaited eleventh novel, the epic Cold War history Underworld. The book was widely heralded as a masterpiece, with novelist and critic Martin Amis saying it marked "the ascension of a great writer."[13] Underworld went on to become DeLillo's most acclaimed novel to date, achieving mainstream success and earning nominations for the National Book Award[14], the New York Times Best Books of the Year award in 1997, and a second Pulitzer Prize for Fiction nomination in 1998. The novel went on to win the 1998 American Book Award, the 1999 Jersalem Prize, and both the William Dean Howells Medal and "Riccardo Bacchelli" International Award in 2000. It was a runner-up in The New York Times' survey of the best American fiction of the last 25 years (announced in May, 2006). White Noise and Libra were also recognized by the anonymous jury of contemporary writers. Reflecting on the writing of Underworld in 2010, DeLillo said in an interview with that re-reading the novel "...made me wonder whether I would be capable of that kind of writing now — the range and scope of it. There are certain parts of the book where the exuberance, the extravagance, I don’t know, the overindulgence... There are city scenes in New York that seem to transcend reality in a certain way.”[4]

Novels of the 2000s

Although they have received some acclaim in places, DeLillo's post-Underworld novels have been often viewed by critics as "...disappointing and slight, especially when held up against his earlier, big-canvas epics."[11], marking a shift "...away from sweeping, era-defining novels such as "White Noise," "Libra" and "Underworld." to a more "spare and oblique"[11] style. DeLillo has commented on this shift to shorter novels, saying "“If a longer novel announces itself, I’ll write it. A novel creates its own structure and develops its own terms. I tend to follow. And I never try to stretch what I sense is a compact book.”[1] In a March 2010 interview, it was reported that DeLillo's deliberate stylistic shift had been informed by his having recently re-read several slim but seminal European novels, including Albert Camus's The Stranger, Peter Handke's The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and Max Frisch's Man in the Holocene.[3]

After the publication and extensive publicity drive for Underworld, DeLillo once again retreated from the spotlight to write his twelfth novel, surfacing with The Body Artist in 2001. The slight and brief novella was very different in style and tone to the epic history of Underworld, and met with a mixed critical reception.

DeLillo followed The Body Artist with 2003's Cosmopolis, a modern re-interpretation of James Joyce's Ulysses transposed to New York around the time of the collapse of the dot-com bubble in the year 2000. This novel was met at the time with a largely negative reception, with several high profile critics and novelists-notably John Updike-voicing their objections to the novel's style and tone. However, subsequently critical opinions have been revised and it is often seen in a much better light, and prescient for its views on the flaws and weaknesses of the international financial system and cybercapital.

DeLillo's papers were acquired in 2004 by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.[15]

DeLillo returned with what would turn out to be his final novel of the decade with Falling Man in May, 2007. The novel concerned the impact on one family of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Although highly anticipated and eagerly awaited by critics, who felt that DeLillo was one of the contemporary writers best equipped to tackle with the vents of 9/11 in novelistic form, the novel met once again with a mixed critical reception and garnered no major literary awards. DeLillo, however, remains unconcerned by this relative lack of critical acclaim, remarking in 2010 "In the 1970s, when I started writing novels, I was a figure in the margins, and that’s where I belonged. If I’m headed back that way, that’s fine with me, because that’s always where I felt I belonged. Things changed for me in the 1980s and 1990s, but I’ve always preferred to be somewhere in the corner of a room, observing.”[4]

On April 25, 2009 DeLillo received another significant literary award, the 2009 Common Wealth Award for Literature, given by PNC Bank of Delaware.[16]

On June 9, 2009 it was announced that DeLillo's next novel, his fifteenth, had been completed and was set for publication. Titled Point Omega, the brief plot description released revealed that the new short novel concerns: "A young filmmaker [who] visits the desert home of a secret war advisor in the hopes of making a documentary. The situation is complicated by the arrival of the older man's daughter, and the narrative takes a dark turn." The first confirmed extract from Point Omega was made available on the Simon and Schuster website on December 10, 2009.[17]

On July 24, 2009, Entertainment Weekly announced:

Director David Cronenberg (A History of Violence, Naked Lunch) will write a screenplay adaptation of Don DeLillo's 2003 novel Cosmopolis, with "a view to eventually direct,"[18]

This would be the first direct adaptation for the screen of a DeLillo novel, although both Libra and Underworld have previously been optioned for screen treatments and DeLillo himself has written an original screenplay for the film Game 6. On January 13, 2010, The Canadian Press revealed the latest update on the adaptation[19]:

Cronenberg...said he's finished writing the big-screen adaptation of Don DeLillo's provocative 2003 novel "Cosmopolis." "Everyone's happy with the script," he said, noting they haven't cast it yet. "It's a project I'm very fond of," added Cronenberg. "It's a terrific book and plans are in the works to make that movie.[19]

On November 30, 2009, DeLillo published a new original short story in the New Yorker magazine, his first since "Still Life" in 2007 prior to the release of Falling Man. The new story is called "Midnight in Doestoevsky" and it is a standalone short story (not a part of DeLillo's forthcoming novel Point Omega as seen in the advance copies).[20]

DeLillo ended the decade by making an unexpected appearance at a PEN event on the steps of the New York City Public Library, 5th Ave and 42nd St in support of Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced to eleven years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power" on December 31, 2009[21].

Novels of the 2010s

DeLillo published Point Omega as his fifteenth novel under his own name in February of 2010. According to DeLillo, the novel considers an idea from "...the writing of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist [Pierre] Teilhard de Chardin."[6] The 'Omega Point' of the title "...[is] the possible idea that human consciousness is reaching a point of exhaustion and that what comes next may be either a paroxysm or something enormously sublime and unenvisionable."[6] Reviews thus far have been incredibly polarised, with some saying the novel is a return to form and innovative, while others have complained about the novel's brevity and apparent lack of plot and engaging characters. Upon its initial release, Point Omega spent one week on the New York Times Bestseller List, peaking at #35 on the extended version of the list during its one week stay on the list.[22]

In a January 29, 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal, DeLillo discussed Point Omega, his views of writing and his plans for the future at great length. When asked about why his recent novels had been shorter, DeLillo replied, "Each book tells me what it wants or what it is, and I'd be perfectly content to write another long novel. It just has to happen."[6]. While DeLillo is open to the idea of returning to the form of the long novel, the interview also revealed that he currently has no interest in doing as many of his literary contemporaries have done and writing a memoir[6]. DeLillo also made some observations on the state of literature and the challenges facing young writers:

"It's tougher to be a young writer today than when I was a young writer. I don't think my first novel would have been published today as I submitted it. I don't think an editor would have read 50 pages of it. It was very overdone and shaggy, but two young editors saw something that seemed worth pursuing and eventually we all did some work on the book and it was published. I don't think publishers have that kind of tolerance these days, and I guess possibly as a result, more writers go to writing class now than then. I think first, fiction, and second, novels, are much more refined in terms of language, but they may tend to be too well behaved, almost in response to the narrower market."[6]

However, in a February 21, 2010 interview with The Times newspaper, DeLillo re-affirmed his belief in the validity and importance of the novel in a technology and media driven age, offering a more optimistic opinion of the future of the novel than his contemporary Philip Roth had done in a recent interview:

“It is the form that allows a writer the greatest opportunity to explore human experience...For that reason, reading a novel is potentially a significant act. Because there are so many varieties of human experience, so many kinds of interaction between humans, and so many ways of creating patterns in the novel that can’t be created in a short story, a play, a poem or a movie. The novel, simply, offers more opportunities for a reader to understand the world better, including the world of artistic creation. That sounds pretty grand, but I think it’s true.”[1]


Since 1979, in addition to his novels and occasional essays, DeLillo has been active as a playwright. To date, DeLillo has written five major plays: The Engineer of Moonlight (1979), The Day Room (1986), Valparaiso (1999), Love Lies Bleeding (2006), and, most recently, The Word For Snow (2007). Stage adaptations have also been written for DeLillo's novel's Libra and Mao II.

Themes and criticism

DeLillo is widely considered by modern critics to be one of the central figures of literary postmodernism. He has said the primary influences on his work and development are "abstract expressionism, foreign films, and jazz."[23] Many of DeLillo's books (notably White Noise) satirize academia and explore postmodern themes of rampant consumerism, novelty intellectualism, underground conspiracies, the disintegration and re-integration of the family, and the promise of rebirth through violence. In several of his novels, DeLillo explores the idea of the increasing visibility and effectiveness of terrorists as societal actors and, consequently, the displacement of what he views to be artists', and particularly novelists', traditional role in facilitating social discourse (Players, Mao II, Falling Man). Another perpetual theme in DeLillo's books is the saturation of mass media and its role in forming simulacra which serve to remove an event from its context and alter or drain its inherent meaning (see the highway shooter in Underworld, the televised disasters longed for in White Noise, the planes in Falling Man, the evolving story of the interviewee in Valparaiso). The psychology of crowds and the capitulation of individuals to group identity is a theme DeLillo examines in several of his novels, especially in the prologue to Underworld, Mao II, and Falling Man. In a 1993 interview with Maria Nadotti, DeLillo explained

My book (Mao II), in a way, is asking who is speaking to these people. Is it the writer who traditionally thought he could influence the imagination of his contemporaries or is it the totalitarian leader, the military man, the terrorist, those who are twisted by power and who seem capable of imposing their vision on the world, reducing the earth to a place of danger and anger. Things have changed a lot in recent years. One doesn't step onto an airplane in the same spirit as one did ten years ago: it's all different and this change has insinuated itself into our consciousness with the same force with which it insinuated itself into the visions of Beckett or Kafka.[24]

Many younger English-language authors such as Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace have cited DeLillo as an influence. Literary critic Harold Bloom named him as one of the four major American novelists of his time[25], along with Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, and Cormac McCarthy, though he questions the classification of DeLillo as a "postmodern novelist." Asked if he approves of this designation, DeLillo has responded: "I don't react. But I'd prefer not to be labeled. I'm a novelist, period. An American novelist."[26]

Critics of DeLillo allege that his novels are overly stylized and intellectually shallow. Bruce Bawer famously condemned DeLillo's novels insisting they weren't actually novels at all but "tracts, designed to batter us, again and again, with a single idea: that life in America today is boring, benumbing, dehumanized...It's better, DeLillo seems to say in one novel after another, to be a marauding murderous maniac—and therefore a human—than to sit still for America as it is, with its air conditioners, assembly lines, television sets, supermarkets, synthetic fabrics, and credit cards."[27] George Will proclaimed the study of Lee Harvey Oswald in Libra as "sandbox existentialism" and "an act of literary vandalism and bad citizenship."[27] DeLillo responded "I don't take it seriously, but being called a 'bad citizen' is a compliment to a novelist, at least to my mind. That's exactly what we ought to do. We ought to be bad citizens. We ought to, in the sense that we're writing against what power represents, and often what government represents, and what the corporation dictates, and what consumer consciousness has come to mean. In that sense, if we're bad citizens, we're doing our job."[27] DeLillo also figured prominently in B. R. Myers' critique of recent American literary fiction, A Reader's Manifesto.




Short stories

  • "The River Jordan" (1960) (First published in Epoch 10, No. 2 (Winter 1960), pp. 105–120.)
  • "Take the 'A' Train" (1962) (First published in Epoch 12, No. 1 (Spring 1962) pp. 9–25.)
  • "Spaghetti and Meatballs" (1965) (First published in Epoch 14, No. 3 (Spring 1965) pp. 244–250)
  • "Coming Sun.Mon.Tues." (1966) (First published in Kenyon Review 28, No. 3 (June 1966), pp. 391–394.)
  • "Baghdad Towers West" (1967) (First published in Epoch 17, 1968, pp. 195–217.)
  • "The Uniforms" (1970) (First published in Carolina Quarterly 22, 1970, pp. 4–11.)
  • "In the Men's Room of the Sixteenth Century" (1971) (First published in Esquire, Dec. 1971, pp. 174–177, 243, 246.)
  • "Total Lost Weekend" (1972) (First published in Sports Illustrated, Nov. 27, 1972, pp. 98–101+)
  • "Creation" (1979) (First published in Antaeus No. 33, Spring 1979, pp. 32–46.)
  • "The Sightings" (1979) (First published in Weekend Magazine (Summer Fiction Issue, out of Toronto), August 4, 1979, pp. 26–30.)
  • "Human Moments in World War III" (1983) (First published in Esquire, July 1983, pp. 118–126.)
  • "The Ivory Acrobat" (1988) (First published in Granta 25, Autumn 1988, pp. 199–212.)
  • "The Runner" (1988) (First published in Harper's, Sept. 1988, pp. 61–63.)
  • "Pafko at the Wall" (1992) (First published in Harper's, Oct. 1992, pp. 35–70.)
  • "The Angel Esmeralda" (1995) (First published in Esquire, May 1994, pp. 100–109.)
  • "Baader-Meinhof" (2002) (First published in New Yorker, 1 April 2002, pp. 78–82.)
  • "Still Life" (2007) (First published in New Yorker, April 9, 2007)
  • "Midnight in Dostoevsky" (2009) (First Published in New Yorker, November 30, 2009)



Game 6, the story of a playwright (played by Michael Keaton) and his obsession with the Boston Red Sox and the 1986 World Series, was written in the early 90s, but wasn't produced until 2005, ironically one year after the Red Sox won their first World Series title in 86 years. To date, it is DeLillo's only work for film.

Significant essays

  • "American Blood: A Journey through the Labyrinth of Dallas and JFK" (1983) (Published in Rolling Stone, Dec. 8, 1983. DeLillo's first major published essay. Seen as signposting his interest in the JFK assassination that would ultimately lead to Libra)
  • "Salman Rushdie Defense" (1994) (Co-written with Paul Auster in defense of Salman Rushdie following the announcement of a fatwa upon him after the publication of The Satanic Verses)
  • "The Artist Naked in a Cage" (1997)(A short piece ran in The New Yorker on May 26, 1997, pages 6–7. An address delivered on May 13, 1997 at the New York Public Library's event "Stand In for Wei Jingsheng.")
  • "The Power of History" (1997) (Published in the Sept. 7, 1997 issue of the New York Times Magazine. Preceded the publication of Underworld and was viewed by many as a rationale for the novel)
  • "A History of the Writer Alone in a Room" (1999) (This piece is the acceptance address given by DeLillo on the occasion of being awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 1999. A small pamphlet was printed with this address, an address by Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham, the Jury's Citation and an address by Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert. It was reprinted in a German translation in Die Zeit in 2001. The piece is in five numbered sections, and is about five pages long.)
  • "In the Ruins of the Future" (Dec 2001) (This short essay appeared in Harper's magazine, December 2001 issue, pages 33–40. It concerns the Sept 11 incidents, terrorism, and America. It consists of eight numbered sections.)

Books about DeLillo

  • Bloom, Harold (ed.), Don DeLillo (Bloom's Major Novelists), Chelsea House, 2003.
  • Boxall, Peter, Don DeLillo: The Possibility of Fiction, Routledge, 2006.
  • Civello, Paul, American Literary Naturalism and its Twentieth-century Transformations: Frank Norris, Ernest Hemingway, Don DeLillo, University of Georgia Press, 1994.
  • Cowart, David, Don DeLillo - The Physics of Language, University of Georgia Press, 2002.
  • Dewey, Joseph, Beyond Grief and Nothing: A Reading of Don DeLillo, University of South Carolina Press, 2006.
  • Dewey, Joseph (ed.), Kellman, Steven G. (ed.), Malin, Irving (ed.), Underwords: Perspectives on Don DeLillo's Underworld, University of Delaware Press, 2002.
  • Duvall, John, Don DeLillo's Underworld: A Reader's Guide, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002.
  • Duvall, John (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo, Cambridge UP, 2008
  • Engles, Tim (ed.), Duvall, John (ed.) ,Approaches to Teaching DeLillo's White Noise, Modern Language Association Press, 2006.
  • Halldorson, Stephanie, The Hero in Contemporary American Fiction: The Works of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo, 2007.
  • Hantke, Steffen, Conspiracy and Paranoia in Contemporary American Fiction: The works of Don DeLillo and Joseph McElroy, Peter Lang Publishing, 1994.
  • Kavadlo, Jesse, Don DeLillo: Balance at the Edge of Belief, Peter Lang Publishing, 2004.
  • Keesey, Douglas, Don DeLillo, Macmillan, 1993.
  • Laist, Randy, Technology and Postmodern Subjectivity in Don DeLillo's Novels, Peter Lang Publishing, 2010.
  • LeClair, Tom In the Loop - Don DeLillo and the Systems Novel, University of Illinois Press, 1987.
  • Lentricchia, Frank (ed.), Introducing Don DeLillo, Duke University Press, 1991.
  • Lentricchia, Frank (ed.), New Essays on White Noise, Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • Martucci, Elise, The Environmental Unconscious in the Fiction of Don DeLillo, Routledge, 2007.
  • Morley, Catherine, The Quest for Epic in Contemporary American Literature, Routledge, New York, 2008.
  • Orr, Leonard, White Noise: A Reader's Guide Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003.
  • Osteen, Mark American Magic and Dread: Don DeLillo's Dialogue with Culture, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.
  • Ruppersburg, Hugh (ed.), Engles, Tim (ed.), Critical Essays on Don DeLillo, G.K. Hall, 2000.
  • Schuster, Marc "Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum", Cambria Press, 2008
  • Weinstein, Arnold, Nobody's Home: Speech, Self, and Place in American Fiction From Hawthorne to DeLillo, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Awards and award nominations

  • 1979 - DeLillo awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • 1984 - Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters
  • 1985 - National Book Award for White Noise
  • 1985 - National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (Fiction, 1985) for White Noise
  • 1988 - National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (Fiction, 1988) for Libra
  • 1988 - New York Times Best Books of the Year (1988) for Libra
  • 1988 - National Book Award finalist (Fiction, 1988) for Libra
  • 1989 - Irish Times, Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize for Libra
  • 1991 - 1991 PEN/Faulkner Award for Mao II
  • 1992 - 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction nomination for Mao II
  • 1995 - 1995 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award
  • 1997 - National Book Award finalist nomination for Underworld
  • 1997 - New York Times Best Books of the Year nominee for Underworld
  • 1998 - 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction nomination for Underworld
  • 1998 - 1998 American Book Award for Underworld
  • 1999 - 1999 Jersalem Prize awarded for Underworld
  • 2000 - 2000 William Dean Howells Medal awarded for Underworld
  • 2000 - 2000 "Riccardo Bacchelli" International Award for Underworld
  • 2001 - James Tait Black Memorial Prize shortlist (Fiction, 2001) for The Body Artist
  • 2006 - 2006 New York Times: Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years (Runner-Up) for Underworld
  • 2007 - 2007 New York Times Notable Book of the Year (Fiction and Poetry) for Falling Man
  • 2007 - 2007 Booklist Top of the List: A Best of Editors Choice for Falling Man
  • 2009 - 2009 Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service for achievements in literature

References in popular culture

  • Paul Auster dedicated his books In the Country of Last Things and Leviathan to his friend Don DeLillo.
  • Ryan Boudinot[4] and Neal Pollack[28] contributed humor pieces to the journal McSweeney's satirizing DeLillo.
  • A fictionalized DeLillo blogs for The Onion. [29]
  • Conor Oberst begins his song "Gold Mine Gutted" with "It was Don DeLillo, whiskey, me, and a blinking midnight clock."
  • Rhett Miller references Underworld in his song "World Inside a World" saying, "I read it in DeLillo, like he'd written it for me."
  • The band The Airborne Toxic Event takes its name from a chemical gas leak of the same name in DeLillo's White Noise.
  • Too Much Joy's song "Sort of Haunted House" from Mutiny is inspired by DeLillo; similarly, Too Much Joy spin-off band, Wonderlick, takes its name from an intentional misspelling of the name of the protagonist from Great Jones Street.
  • David Foster Wallace claimed Delillo, and Cynthia Ozick, as two of his great living writers of the English language.


  1. ^ a b c d [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h
  3. ^ a b c d e March 06, 2010 12:00AM (2010-03-06). "Dancing to the music of time". The Australian. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  4. ^ a b c [2]
  5. ^ Passaro, Vince (1991-05-19). "Dangerous Don DeLillo". New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Alter, Alexandra (2010-01-29). "Don DeLillo on His New Book 'Point Omega' -". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  7. ^ Published May 7, 2007 (2007-05-07). "Our Guide to the Don DeLillo Oeuvre - New York Magazine". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b Rayner, Richard (2010-01-03). "Tuning back in to 'White Noise'".,0,4308244.story. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b c Alter, Alexandra (2010-01-30). "Don DeLillo on Point Omega and His Writing Methods -". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  12. ^ a b "DeLillo Detractors". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  13. ^ Amis, Martin (1997-10-05). "Survivors of the Cold War". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Underworld Media Watch". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  15. ^ "Ransom Center Acquires Archive of Noted American Novelist Don DeLillo". HRC News. 2004-10-20. 
  16. ^ "Don DeLillo - Events of Interest". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  17. ^ "Books : Point Omega : Excerpts". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  18. ^ 09:29 PM ET (2009-07-24). "David Cronenberg journeys to 'Cosmopolis' |". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  19. ^ a b [3]
  20. ^ by Don DeLillo (2009-01-07). "Midnight in Dostoevsky". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  21. ^ "PEN American Center - Writers Rally for Release of Liu Xiaobo". 2009-12-31. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  22. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2010-02-18). "TBR - Inside the List". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  23. ^ DePietro, Thomas (ed.) (2005). Conversations With Don DeLillo. University Press of Mississippi. p. 128. ISBN 1-57806-704-9. 
  24. ^ DePietro, Thomas (ed.) (2005). Conversations With Don DeLillo. University Press of Mississippi. p. 110. ISBN 1-57806-704-9. 
  25. ^ Bloom, Harold (2003-09-24). "/ News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Dumbing down American readers". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  26. ^ DePietro, Thomas (ed.) (2005). Conversations With Don DeLillo. University Press of Mississippi. p. 115. ISBN 1-57806-704-9. 
  27. ^ a b c Remnick, David, "Exile on Main Street: Don DeLillo's Undisclosed Underworld", The New Yorker, September 15, 1997.
  28. ^ "McSweeney's Internet Tendency: DeLillo in the Outback". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  29. ^ "Don DeLillo | The Onion - America's Finest News Source". The Onion. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 

8. Jacobs, Timothy. “Don DeLillo.” Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Peter Knight. Oxford: ABC-CLIO Press, 2003. 219-220.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Don DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.


Interview/Article Quotes

  • I think fiction recues history from its confusions.
    • '"An Outsider in this Society": An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Anthony DeCurtis, South Atlantic Quarterly, #89, No.2, 1988
  • I'm a novelist, period. An American novelist.
    • 'An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Maria Nadotti, Salmagundi #100, Fall, 1993
  • I am not particularly distressed by the state of fiction or the role of the writer. The more marginal, perhaps ultimately the more trenchant and observant and finally necessary he'll become.
    • 'The American Strangeness: An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Gerald Howard, The Hungry Mind Review, #47 , 1997
  • I think fiction comes from everything you've ever done, and said, and dreamed, and imagined. It comes from everything you've read and haven't read...I think my work comes out of the culture of the world around me. I think that's where my language comes from.
    • 'Exile on Main Street: Don DeLillo's Undisclosed Underworld' by David Remnick, The New Yorker, September 15, 1997
  • Popular culture is inescapable in the U.S. Why not use it?
    • '"Writing as a Deeper Form of Concentration": An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Maria Moss, Sources, Spring, 1999
  • The figure of the gunman in the window was inextricable from the victim and his history. This sustained Oswald in his cell. It gave him what he needed to live. The more time he spent in a cell, the stronger he would get. Everybody knew who he was now.
    • In Dallas, pt. 2 (1988).


The Names (1982)

  • I've come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.
    • Ch. 1
  • If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.
    • Ch. 4
  • In this century the writer has carried on a conversation with madness. We might almost say of the twentieth-century writer that he aspires to madness. Some have made it, of course, and they hold special places in our regard. To a writer, madness is a final distillation of self, a final editing down. It's the drowning out of false voices.
    • Ch. 5

White Noise (1984)

  • Who will die first?
    • Ch. 4
  • I want to immerse myself in American magic and dread.
    • Ch. 5
  • All plots tend to move towards death. This is the nature of plots.
    • Ch. 6
  • Every disaster made us wish for something bigger, grander, more sweeping.
    • Ch. 14
  • To become a crowd is to keep out death.
    • Ch. 15
  • I heard a noise, faint, monotonous, white.
    • Ch. 39

Mao II (1991)

  • The future belongs to crowds
    • At Yankee Stadium
  • When a writer doesn't show his face, he becomes a local symptom of God's famous reluctance to appear.
    • Part 1, Ch. 3
  • "There's a curious knot that binds novelists and terrorists...Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated."
    • Part 1, Ch. 3
  • "Remember literature, Charlie? It involved getting drunk and getting laid."
    • Part 2, Ch. 9
  • "Stories have no point if they don't absorb our terror."
    • Part 2, Ch. 10
  • Terror makes the new future possible. All men one man, Men live in history as never before. He is saying we make an change history minute by minute. History is not the book or the human memory. We do history in the morning and change it after lunch.
    • In Beiruit

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Don DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an American author. He lives in New York City. His works are about American life in the 20th century and 21st century.




  • Americana (1971)
  • End Zone (1972)
  • Great Jones Street (1973)
  • Ratner's Star (1976)
  • Players (1977)
  • Running Dog (1978)
  • Amazons (1980) (DeLillo used the pseudonym "Cleo Birdwell" for the author name)
  • The Names (1982)
  • White Noise (1985)
  • Libra (1988)
  • Mao II (1991)
  • Underworld (1997)
  • The Body Artist (2001)
  • Cosmopolis (2003)
  • Falling Man (2007)


  • The Day Room (1986)
  • Valparaiso (1999)
  • Love-Lies-Bleeding (2005)
  • The Word for Snow (2007)


  • Game 6 (2005)


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