Guide The Future Belongs To Crowds: Media in Don DeLillos Libra, Mao II and White Noise

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The Future Belongs To Crowds: Media in Don DeLillo's Libra, Mao II and White Noise - M.A. Jan Riepe - Thesis (M.A.) - American Studies - Literature - Publish.
Table of contents

Magisterprufung, 68 entries in the bibliography, language: This paper analyzes the treatment of media in novels by Don DeLillo. The Future Belongs To Crowds: Key concepts in the study of media will be presented and explained in regard to how they are represented in DeLillo's novels. The focus will be on the novels and not on the media, after all this is a master's thesis in Literary and not in Communications Studies.

Media and media theory, in our age of information capitalism are, now more than ever before, a topic that deserves close scholarly attention.

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Media theorists agree that to study the media is to study one of the most important topics of the day and that "such study should be compulsory part of every citizens liberal education" Fred Inglis. Most people in their daily lives are permanently surrounded by media. No matter if it is our entertainment, information, health, knowledge, memory, identity, dreams, emotions, or even our dying - all have by now been incorporated by the media. He didn't get seriously into reading until he was 18, working at a summer job as a playground attendant.

DeLillo's brief was to patrol the park blowing a whistle, but instead he sat on a bench and consumed Faulkner, Joyce and Hemingway, marvelling, for the first time, at the "radiance" of language. He perceived that words had a "sculptural quality", that arranging them was a "sensuous pleasure". The language of my books has shaped me as a man. There's a moral force in a sentence when it comes out right. It speaks the writer's will to live. Although he has a college degree in what he scathingly refers to as "something called communication arts", DeLillo is essentially self-taught.

His books, he says, are not for academics but for "an anonymous person somewhere in a small town". And while White Noise is on the syllabus of most post-modernism courses, DeLillo's combination of weight and flippancy, his insistence on doing just as he pleases - even if it results in the occasional turkey Ratner's Star, for example, was not well received - makes him difficult to place in study courses on the modern novel.

I said, 'Don, don't you want a table of contents? The reader can find what he wants.

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Ogilvy was a very literary agency, and the writing was something I could handle. It was the ideas that weren't natural to me. Bell, it turned out, was a typical DeLillo creation, brilliant and cynical and hard to feel affection for. This is the irony of Don DeLillo, that post-Underworld he is painted as a fearfully intellectual writer when what he writes about best is the slacker attitude, the world-weary pose adopted by people who will be put off reading him by rumours of the effort involved.

He draws these characters from experience. Unlike the generations of writers who came after him, those who have agents and book deals before they've been published, DeLillo flopped about for years doing pretty much nothing. He had no "contacts". After quitting the ad agency, it took him four years to produce Americana, at the end of which it was still a "total mess", he says, unprintable by today's standards.

It just doesn't happen any more. Everything seems to hinge on a strong beginning and a commercial possibility. I woke up one morning and understood that, as they later began to say, this was the first day of the rest of my life. I had nothing to go to. But this is what I wanted; to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and look at the world. He was not, he says, "ambitious in a professional sense and I was not ambitious as a writer. I was fairly certain [that the book] would not come to fruition. I don't think I was panicking and it's hard to explain why, because I should have been.

I think I inherited from my father a certain stoicism. I was paying such little rent that it was possible to do that in New York. But there was an element of grimness, existential grimness. In , when he was 35, Americana was published. It got mixed reviews - Joyce Carol Oates, writing in the Detroit Sunday News, called him "a man of frightening perception", but elsewhere he was thought to be showy, his prose a stylistic hangover from his days as a copywriter.

Although revered for his intelligence and his humour, over the years some critics have recoiled from him for being too clever, brilliant at the level of the individual sentence, but no good, they say, at endings or characterisation or plot development, or any of the conventions necessary to story-telling. Peter Straus, though, takes a different view, saying, "It's not really fair to say he's bad at endings. He's not prescriptive as a writer, so therefore the end will sometimes be inconclusive.


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Everybody expects a resolution, just like everybody expects to be happy. He's pointing up the chimeras that contemporarysociety has highlighted. The penultimate sentence in the last book is, 'this is not the end'. In terms of pacing, it is true that a DeLillo sentence can scan like an epigram from the self-help industry or an Eric Segal-style aphorism. But while the rhythm of a DeLillo soundbite soothes, its sentiment subverts the reader's expectations like a malevolent fortune cookie.

By using the language of advertising to undermine its principles, DeLillo has inspired a thousand theses, but he has also been bizarrely accused of anti-Americanism. To DeLillo's annoyance, writing in the Washington Post, George Wills accused him of "loathing" American society and being "a good writer and a bad influence".

In reply, DeLillo says, with the weariness of one forced to state the obvious, "I write about the culture that we're living in. I don't regret it. The great rebuke to these criticisms is Underworld, DeLillo's masterpiece, which from its first line, "He speaks in your voice, American, and there's a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful", announces itself as the book in which he finally shows his heart.

His affection for his country is never more pronounced, his prose never warmer than in the opening section, an account of the famous baseball game at Shea Stadium, and through it, the Italian Bronx of DeLillo's childhood. Gasping for air, critics described the novel as a "wolf whistle", a "big cluttered basement" a "cathedral" a "home-run" a "colossus" and a "bible". But DeLillo doesn't pander to the shortcomings of his audience.

Mao II: A Novel: Don DeLillo: resyxusifa.ml: Books

The author, in his recluse, becomes larger than life, and the mystery surrounding such an author gives hope to the masses. It is apparent in the book that Scott is holding Bill hostage in the house, as Scott knows that this effect is a force of good in the world one that can fight against the terrorists. DeLillo, though he is dealing with a lot of material in this novel, writes with insight and with an imagination that is unmatched. Another segment in the book deals with Karen and her interactions with the homeless denizens of Tompkins Square Park in the early nineties. His description of the camp is nightmarish, hellish, and brutally honest.

I highly recommend this book, the only other book from DeLillo that I have read is White Noise, but I can say I like this book a lot more. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Classic contemporary American literature.


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This is a re read for me, my first reading was my first discovery of this novelist. I am now a lifelong fan. The book has a rhythm and a cadence to it, like an epic poem Homers Odyssey. Since my first reading this author continues to amaze me. One of my all time fave books and author.

I feel enlightened,as though I have done something worthwhile just by reading this book. One person found this helpful. DeLillo seems to predict the future with this book in regards to group-think, terrorism, modern American culture etc. Throughout the book DeLillo puts together thoughtful sentences and ideas. I highlighted numerous sentences and passages while reading the book. Much to ponder and it is a book I will read a second time. This story has it's focus on a reclusive writer who seems similar to J. The book opens with the the big s "arranged marriage event" at Yankee Stadium presided over by the Rev Moon.

It ends with our reclusive writer coming out of hiding for an "event" set to go down in Beirut. A good story, well told, with interesting characters, a tale full of insights on the state of our modern culture. If you have not read DeLillo you are missing out. I am now reading Libra. Mao II is one of Delillo's best novels. It is not as good as Underworld, The Names or Libra, but it would rank shortly after. It concerns an infamous cult and a reclusive writer, but, as with all of Delillo's later novels, the plot really is not important, is it?

What's important with Delillo are his ideas, the moments of wait, the hidden implications. While Mao II has more of a plot than most of his novels, it is certainly not plot driven.

The Future Belongs To Crowds: Media in Don DeLillo's Libra, Mao II and White Noise

Anyone looking for a quick, easy read should probably stay away. I will not dwell on themes, since several reviewers have already discussed them at great length. I will only say his ideas about crowds and the affect of terrorism on our daily lives is brilliant. I find this novel brilliant, particularly the first scene and the last two or three.