Appreciating Don DeLillo
The Moral Force of a Writer's Work
by Paul Giaimo
July 2011, 188pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38624-4
$49, £37, 41€, A70
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38625-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The recipients of numerous awards, from the Jerusalem Award to the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Don DeLillo’s works are read by millions worldwide. They are also widely acclaimed as among the best and most informative popular American literature on the market today. What lies beneath the surface of these novels?

An insightful work providing state-of-the-art critical guidance and informative commentary on the major novels of Don DeLillo in terms of how they respond to current social and ethical issues.

Unlike the majority of American academic critics, author Paul Giaimo contends that Don DeLillo’s award-winning novels are fully defined by neither postmodernism nor modernism. To demonstrate this thesis, Appreciating Don DeLillo: The Moral Force of a Writer’s Work traces DeLillo’s style through his novels, showing how it evolved from a recognizably postmodern mode into a realistic treatment of contemporary, postmodern conditions.

In this original and nuanced examination, Giaimo discusses themes that range from the devastating portrayals of evil in Mao II, Libra and Cosmopolis, to the good and inspiring confrontation of media stereotypes and urban missionary work in Underworld. The powerful vision of language in The Names and White Noise is examined as a potent moral force of the novels. Equally important is discussion of the cultural background Giaimo believes should inform any reading of DeLillo’s work, especially his Italian-American ethnic heritage and the American Catholic church of the 1950s.

Paul GIaimo is Instructor of English and philosophy at Highland Community College, Freeport, IL. He has written articles on Don DeLillo and in the field of Italian-American Studies, and in other journals such as Voices in Italian Americana and MELUS. He has also published entries in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature.

Reviews

"Offering an alternative perspective on DeLillo's work, Giaimo raises interesting questions about how best to define DeLillo's novels. . . . Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, January 1, 2012
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