The Language of Self: Strategies of Subjectivity in the Novels of Don DeLillo

The Language of Self: Strategies of Subjectivity in the Novels of Don DeLillo

by Phill Pass


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The Language of Self explores the portrayal of subjectivity in Don DeLillo's fiction. It proposes that his characters' conception of self is determined by the tension between a desire for connection and a longing for isolation. The particular form taken by this language of self is shown to be both shaped by, and in turn formed through, an interaction with larger, social constructions of agency. In order to explore this phenomenon from both an individual and a social perspective, the author undertakes detailed close readings of DeLillo's texts, informed by nuanced theoretical analysis which stresses the symbiotic interaction of social and individual context.
This method informs the structure of the book, which is divided into three sections. The first, entitled 'Dasein', conceptualises how DeLillo's characters navigate between isolation and connection, shaping a particular enunciation of self which reflects the balance they strike between self and other. 'Phenomenology', the second section, explores how DeLillo's treatment of language and image alters this balance and examines the sustainability of each enunciation of self. The final section, 'Das Man', addresses how the language of self shapes, and is shaped by, a wider social context.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783034317115
Publisher: Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften
Publication date: 11/21/2013
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 5.91(w) x 8.86(h) x (d)

About the Author

Phill Pass is a Researcher in American Literature and Ecocriticism at the University of St Andrews. In addition to his work on Don DeLillo and subjectivity, he has published on the novels and poems of John Burnside and on the animal encounter in literature.

Table of Contents

Contents: '[L]ife narrowed down to unfinished rooms': Isolation and the Language of Self - '[Y]our link to the fate of mankind': Connection and the Language of Self - 'With a word they could begin to grid the world': Denotation and the Language of Self - '[T]o smash my likeness, prism of all my images': Hyperreality, άλήθεια and the language of Self - 'Capital burns off the nuance in a culture': Consumption, Capital, Chrimatistikós and the Middle American enunciation of Self - '[T]he banned materials of civilization': Waste, Sinthomosexuality and Middle America - '[T]o maintain a force in the world that comes into people's sleep': Power, Alterity and the Formation of Hegemony - '[T]he balance of power and the balance of terror': Terrorism and the uneigentlich publicness of das Man - To '[e]xplore America in the screaming night': The Language of Self as the Foundation of Future DeLillo Criticism.

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