English 660: Don DeLillo


Book Review: Assignment | Schedule


The assignment: Write a review of a work of literary criticism (of which either all or part must be on Don DeLillo), such as you might do for an academic journal. When you turn it in, one copy will go to me and the other (15 or so) copies will go to your classmates.


The model: The review I gave out in class will appear in Modern Fiction Studies in the near future (within the next year, I’d say). It reviews two books. You need only review one book. So, in other words, if you were to omit the introductory paragraph and concluding paragraphs to "Metaphors and Paranoia: Two Approaches to Contemporary Fiction," it would be two reviews. However, to repeat, you only need review one.


Length: 1,000 words. (For the record, Modern Fiction Studies asks for 1,000-1,500 words per book. My review has 2,130 words.)


Choose one from:

Books exclusively about DeLillo

Tom LeClair, In the Loop: Don DeLillo and the Systems Novel (1987)

Frank Lentricchia (ed.), Introducing Don DeLillo (1991)

Frank Lentricchia (ed.), New Essays on White Noise (1991)

Douglas Keesey, Don DeLillo (1993)

Mark Osteen, American Magic and Dread: Don DeLillo's Dialogue with Culture (2000)

Hugh Ruppersburg and Tim Engles (eds.), Critical Essays on Don DeLillo (2000)*

If the above have already been spoken for and you really want to review a DeLillo "book," try Modern Fiction Studies 45.3 (Fall 1999). It’s available in text form, and through Project Muse, right here: <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modern_fiction_studies/toc/mfs45.3.html>

Books with a chapter on DeLillo

Paul Civello, American Literary Naturalism and Its Twentieth-Century Transformations: Frank Norris, Ernest Hemingway, Don DeLillo (1994)

Joseph Dewey, In a Dark Time: The Apocalyptic Temper in the American Novel of the Nuclear Age (1990)

John Frow, Time and Commodity Culture (1997)

John Johnston, Information Multiplicity: American Fiction in the Age of Media Saturation (1998)

Peter Knight, Conspiracy Culture: From the Kennedy Assassination to "The X-Files" (2000)*

John A. McClure, Late Imperial Romance (1994)

Joe Moran, Star Authors: Literary Celebrity in America (2000)*

Patrick O'Donnell, Latent Destinies: Cultural Paranoia in Contemporary U.S. Narrative (2000)

Ellen Pifer, Demon or Doll: Images of the Child in Contemporary Writing and Culture (2000)

Arthur M. Saltzman, Designs of Darkness in Contemporary American Fiction (1990)

Margaret Scanlan, Plotting Terror: Novelists and Terrorists in Contemporary Fiction (2001)

Michael J. Shapiro, Reading the Postmodern Polity: Political Theory as Textual Practice (1992)*

Philip E. Simmons, Deep Surfaces: Mass Culture & History in Contemporary American Fiction (1997)*

Joseph Tabbi, Postmodern Sublime: Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk (1995)

Arnold L. Weinstein, Nobody's Home: Speech, Self and Place in American Fiction from Hawthorne to DeLillo (1993)

Patti White, Gatsby's Party: The System and the List in Contemporary Narrative (1992)*

* Not in Hale Library. I’ve asked that they be ordered, but you might want to choose another one. If they sound really intriguing, you’re welcome to use Inter-Library Loan. However, place your request now.


Each graduate student should choose a different book to review. Note: if none of the above strikes your fancy, you may choose another text, but you must clear your choice with me. Go the Don DeLillo Society’s "Lit Crit" bibliography (link at bottom of on-line syllabus), and look at the non-reference-books in the "Sections of Books" section. Then, come and talk to me about what you’d prefer.

Due: To give people a chance to process each review, we will stagger the due dates over the course of the semester. So, choose a book, and then we’ll draw up a schedule. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Return to Syllabus for English 660: Don DeLillo

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