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Denying White Male Nostalgia: Don DeLillo’s Underworld

  • Tim Engles
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter demonstrates that in Underworld (1997), Don DeLillo provides his most extensive literary dismantling of late-twentieth-century modes of both American de facto white supremacy and the individualism fetish embodied perhaps most fully by mainstreamed white American masculinity. By depicting the interactions of numerous male, female, and ethnoracially diverse characters, most of whom circle back in ways to the white male protagonist, DeLillo exposes the ironically relational underpinnings of Cold War, white American masculinity; the habitual personal and social denials prompted by challenges to domineering white masculinity; and the nostalgic longings commonly provoked in white men by such challenges. DeLillo also counters white masculine dominance and solipsistic nostalgia with numerous figurations of female and non-white artists, whose communally inclined art repeatedly promotes human connections.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA

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