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  • 2019xiephd

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The artfulness of DeLillo’s novels: artworks and artists

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Licheng Xie
Publication date2019
Number of pages254
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • China Scholarship Council
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


My thesis examines DeLillo’s artist identity and his engagement with art and artist-roles in the changing contexts of politics and history, the physical body, religion and electronic literature. I focus on DeLillo’s post-80’s novels to examine the writer’s artistic expression as the powerful insights into the postmodern world and ourselves. After the reinterpretation of DeLillo’s heroic artist paradigm through the observation of his Dedalian artists, I suggest that their artworks constitute useful counternarratives with a moral potential; I then identify the artistic performance of the conscious and unconscious body and argue that DeLillo’s inward exploration of art is echoed by the individual’s performance of the fragile, lonely and mutable body; by contextualizing art as a religious counterpart in DeLillo’s narratives, I also examine the extent to which art can be a potential inheritor of the sacred in his fictional post-secular world; the last part compares DeLillo’s visual writings with some electronic literary works and argues that DeLillo’s aesthetics in visual representation provide the possibilities of seeing in the digital age. I aim to explore DeLillo’s philosophy of art that is indicated in his changed writing styles and his different contextualization of art.