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Chapter 17 - Genre and Genre Theory

Bold New Forms: Genre and the Generic

from Part IV - Literary Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2022

Jesse Kavadlo
Affiliation:
Maryville University of Saint Louis, Missouri
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Summary

Don DeLillo, this chapter argues, has created innovative narratives from the typecast materials of popular genre fiction. It demonstrates that genre novels and films, from spy thrillers and noir to mafia stories and horror, have often served DeLillo as, counterintuitively, a blank canvas – not as a narrowing template or pre-determined plot but as grounds for subversion, especially of the ideologies popular genres tend to encode, including the myths of individual agency with which DeLillo’s characters often strongly (and wrongheadedly) identify. DeLillo has remained interested in responding to generic narratives throughout his nearly fifty-year career because genres’ tired conventions and predictable endings often act as foils to his far more distinctive explorations of violence and death, that real-world ending, particularly in his late-career invocations of horror. The chapter examines primarily examples from Running Dog, Players, Libra, Underworld, The Body Artist, and Point Omega.

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Chapter
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Don DeLillo In Context , pp. 165 - 171
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Works Cited

Coughlan, David. Ghost Writing in Contemporary American Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cowart, David. Don DeLillo: The Physics of Language. University of Georgia Press, 2002.Google Scholar
DeLillo, Don. Libra. Viking, 1988.Google Scholar
DeLillo, Don. Running Dog. Knopf, 1978.Google Scholar
DeLillo, Don. Underworld. Scribner, 1997.Google Scholar
DeLillo, Don. White Noise. Viking, 1985.Google Scholar
DePietro, Thomas, ed. Conversations With Don DeLillo. University of Mississippi Press, 2005.Google Scholar
Frow, John. Marxism and Literary Form. Harvard University Press, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
LoBrutto, Vincent, to Don DeLillo, June 22, 1997. Container 107.1, Don DeLillo Papers, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin.Google Scholar
McClure, John. Late Imperial Romance. Verso, 1994.Google Scholar

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