THE RE-MODERN DELILLO
Special Electronic Issue of the peer-reviewed GRAAT Journal
Don DeLillo is commonly known, and studied, as a postmodernist author.
In the early stages of DeLillo scholarship, this laying bare of postmodernist mechanisms was a task of primordial importance, and it continues to be essential today. More recently however, what seems to be increasingly clear is the problematic and equivocal nature of DeLillo’s postmodernism, and the manner in which it is his subject as well as his method. His work is rarely, if ever, as performative as Coover’s, as inclusive, encyclopedic and centrifugal as Pynchon’s, or as jubilantly frustrating as Barthelme’s.
Despite their best efforts to undermine their own discourses, DeLillo’s novels often close upon themselves with a formalistic unity that we recognize as distinctly modernist. This modernist impulse has been commented upon to various degrees by Frank Lentriccia, Mark Osteen, Catherine Morley, and Philip Nel, among others. Tom LeClair, when speaking of the systems novelists in his groundbreaking study The Art of Excess, hints that it is perhaps more exact and more telling to refer to them as “re-moderns” or the “new scientifically and aesthetically sophisticated naturalists.” This spreading critical recognition that DeLillo’s writing resists the traditional postmodernist label perhaps indicates the way forward for DeLillo criticism in general.
Ideally, submissions should therefore approach DeLillo’s writing from the perspective of its problematic or equivocal postmodernism, including but not limited to:
• the manner in which it resists or rejects its own postmodernist impulses
• the manner in which it creates myth itself despite its dismantling of myth
• Unity, formalism and ceremonial grandeur
• DeLillo’s problematic endings: a reluctance to closure despite a totalizing narrative architecture that seems to demand or desire it.
• The Joyce, Hemingway, and Dos Passos influences
• Faith in and celebration of narrative and heroic artist-figures
• Pattern, echo
• The epistemological vs. the ontological dominant (cf. McHale)
Complete text of Call for Papers available at http://www.graat.fr/cfp.htm
Electronic submissions should be addressed to Aaron Smith
Deadline Sept 1 2009
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