Balance at the Edge of Belief
Year of Publication: 2003
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., Oxford, Wien, 2004. VIII, 170 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-6351-3 hardback (Hardcover)
Weight: 0.370 kg, 0.816 lbs
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Don DeLillo - winner of the National Book Award, the William Dean Howells Medal, and the Jerusalem Prize - is one of the most important novelists of the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries. While his work can be understood and taught as prescient and postmodern examples of millennial culture, this book argues that DeLillo's recent novels - White Noise, Libra, Mao II, Underworld, and The Body Artist - are more concerned with spiritual crisis. Although DeLillo's worlds are rife with rejection of belief and littered with faithfulness, estrangement, and desperation, his novels provide a balancing moral corrective against the conditions they describe. Speaking the vernacular of contemporary America, DeLillo explores the mysteries of what it means to be human.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Author: Jesse Kavadlo is Assistant Professor of English at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in English from Fordham University and his M.A. from Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He has published essays in professional journals on American literature, European literature, and critical theory.
«It would be a mistake to characterize this study of four crucial DeLillo novels as 'post-theoretical'. In the first place, its author, Jesse Kavadlo, is too aware of what theory offers the critical reader. But Kavadlo rightly argues that what makes DeLillo so compelling may be something that slips by theory's blind spots. Thus Kavadlo joins the small but discriminating band of critics who discern in DeLillo a principled resistance to some of the more extravagant implications of Baudrillard, Hassan, Lyotard, Jameson, et al. Our thinking about the postmodern moment or 'turn' or 'condition' too often backs us into a conceptual corner. Thinking such as Kavadlo's accurately gauges the theoretical dimensions of DeLillo's work at the same time that it registers and does justice to that work's extraordinary range of sympathy and humanity.» (David Cowart, author of 'Don DeLillo: The Physics of Language')
Modern American Literature: New Approaches. Vol. 40
General Editor: Yoshinobu Hakutani