From the President
Dear DDS Members:
Falling Man, Don DeLillo’s long-awaited novel about the events of September 11, 2001, was published on May 15. Incisively tracing the post-traumatic lives of World Trade Center survivor Keith Neudecker, along with his wife and family, Falling Man is haunted by the eponymous performance artist/protester who becomes a multifaceted symbol of memory, trauma, and the power of art. Reviews for this brilliantly compressed treatment of the post-9/11 world are likely to be much more favorable than they were for Cosmopolis, which most DeLillo loyalists found disappointing. I highly recommend Falling Man!
Another reason to read it: there is a good chance the DDS will sponsor a panel or two devoted to the novel at one of our 2008 panels at ALA or Louisville. As we revive our list server, I hope we will open up some discussion threads on the new novel.
Which reminds me: the DDS seeks a cyber-savvy person to operate our list server, and someone to serve as DDS’s Treasurer. I encourage interested parties to apply for these important offices.
We have a new DDS Newsletter Editor, John Esther; with John on board, we expect to publish this newsletter regularly, twice each year.
Finally, watch for news of an upcoming Don DeLillo Conference, tentatively planned for the fall of 2008. We welcome volunteers who would like to help with planning.
Thanks for your patience as we reconstruct our organization.
DeLillo’s Papers at Ransom Center
Don DeLillo’s Papers — at the Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin — offer many venues for scholars to pursue. There are early versions of DeLillo’s work up through Cosmopolis. The “Correspondence” section contains letters to and from Paul Auster, Ann Beattie, Gordon Lish, Philip Roth, David Foster Wallace, and others — including DeLillo’s editors. We also learn the name of DeLillo’s co-author on the pseudonymous Amazons: Sue Buck. (Not sure who she is, but there’s correspondence with her, so presumably one could learn a bit about Ms. Buck there.) For more information, log onto www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fa/delillo.hp.html.
— Philip Nel
Recent DeLillo Scholarship
Last year was a big year for scholarship on DeLillo, with the publication of four new books: Carsten Beier’s Postmoderner Realismus: Zum Romanwerk Don DeLillos (Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2006), Peter Boxall’s Don DeLillo: The Possibility of Fiction (Routledge, 2006), Joseph Dewey’s Beyond Grief and Nothing: A Reading of Don DeLillo (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2006), and Tim Engles and John N. Duvall’s Approaches to Teaching DeLillo’s White Noise (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2006). The last (and only other) year to see four books on DeLillo was 2002, though two of those five works (both edited by Harold Bloom) were collections of previously published work. In addition to the 2006 books there were new articles by Emily Apter, Benjamin Bird, David Cowart, Mark Eaton, David H. Evans, Amy Hungerford, Mikko Keskinen, Paula Martín Salván, Catherine Morley, Elizabeth Rosen, Fernando Rosenberg, Robert A. Rushing, Rachel Smith, and Leonard Wilcox. Even though the MLA database has (we suspect) yet to catalogue all of 2006’s articles, the year still looks like one of the most prolific years yet for DeLillo scholarship.
— Philip Nel
The Don DeLillo Society sponsored two panels at the Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture Conference February 22-24, 2007 in Louisville, KY. The first, “Postmodern Ethics and Morality in Don DeLillo’s Fiction,” consisted of three papers that engaged a range of DeLillo’s novels and dramatic texts. Serpil Tuncer of Ytansbul University in Turkey presented “Postmodern Ethics: Moral Ambiguity in Don DeLillo’s White Noise.” Lydia Wilkes of Indiana University presented “Speed, Event, Disaster: The Lives and Deaths of DeLillo’s Eric Packer and Alex Macklin.” Jacqueline Zubeck of Manhattan College presented “The Play Between Mystery and Spectacle: Valparaiso and Love-Lies-Bleeding.” The panel was organized by Ruth Helyer of University of Teesside, United Kingdom, and was chaired by Dan Grausam of Washington University in Saint Louis. The conversation investigated how we might position DeLillo’s work in relation to the ethical turn in contemporary critical theory (especially the work of Alain Badiou).
Two of four scheduled authors presented papers on the second panel, “DeLillo and Masculinity,” chaired by Jacqueline Zubeck. Heather Caddell presented, “The Generic Man’s Man: Identity, Individualism and the Ultimate Unisex in Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist”; and Matthew Luter presented “Historically Conscious Violence and the Experience of Manhood in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” David Pender presented “Eugene Henderson and Eric Packer: Seeking Transcendence across the Void,” via a video that, due to technical failure, unfortunately was not heard.
— Marni Gauthier
Calls for DeLillo Papers in 2008
The DDS welcomes panel organizers for its sponsored panel(s) at the thirty-sixth annual Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture since 1900, which will be held at the University of Louisville, KY, February 21-23, 2008. The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2007. Please submit your panel proposal to any of the DDS Officers by July 15, 2007 at the latest so as to issue a CFP following soon thereafter.
The DDS welcomes panel organizers for its sponsored panel(s) at the American Literature Association Conference (ALA) in San Francisco, May 22-26, 2008. The deadline for submissions is January 30, 2008. Please submit your panel proposal to any of the DDS Officers by November 1, 2007 at the latest so as to issue a CFP following soon thereafter.
Get Involved with the Don DeLillo Society
Are there any Billy Twilligs out there? The Don DeLillo Society needs a Treasurer. Please see the website for job description and contact any of the Officers with a statement of interest. http://www.k-state.edu/english/nelp/delillo/about.html#join
John Esther (Newsletter Editor) has written about cinema and culture for numerous publications across the planet. He is Editor-in-Chief for Los Angeles Journal, Film Editor for Lesbian News Magazine and SLO City News, Senior Writer for Latino y Style and My Black Hollywood Magazine, and Senior Film Writer for the Iranian Jewish Chronicle and UR Chicago Magazine.
Marni Gauthier (Secretary), Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Cortland, specializes in contemporary American literature and film. Her work has been published in African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, and English Language Notes. She is finishing a book on contemporary historical fiction and global truth telling that treats DeLillo’s Cold-War novels along with novels by Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Bharati Mukherjee, and others. The University of Nevada Press published an essay version of her book chapter on DeLillo’s Underworld in its 2001 collection Moving Stories.
Philip Nel (Webmaster/Bibliographer), Associate Professor of English and Director of Kansas State University’s Program in Children’s Literature, is author of The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (2007), Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004), The Avant-Garde and American Postmodernity: Small Incisive Shocks (2002), and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Novels: A Reader’s Guide (2001).
Mark Osteen (President), Professor of English at Loyola College, Baltimore, is the author of American Magic and Dread: Don DeLillo’s Dialogue with Culture (2000), and author or editor of five other books and dozens of articles. His edited essay collection Autism and Representation is forthcoming from Routledge late this year.