Don DeLillo's White Noise and the Postmodern Economics of Displacement
The primary aim of this work is to investigate the definitively postmodern economy of Don DeLillo's novel, White Noise. Methodologically, this thesis creates a dialogue by comparatively analysing DeLillo's text, its critical and literary reception, and key theoretical texts produced from the same context, as to diagnose the underpinning historical processes which characterise the postmodern. The key theoretical works employed are from Jean Baudrillard, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Fredric Jameson, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and Nick Land, as these theorists have all been primarily concerned with symptomizing the nature of the postmodern world. The main argument made in this thesis is that the postmodern is the product of what I call an economy of displacement. By focusing on three fundamental concepts which recur throughout the novel and its reception, as well as the theoretical texts examined, I argue that the postmodern, the sublime, and capitalism are all defined by a shared economic process characterised by a perpetual, self-propelling, process that escalates and accelerates sociocultural dissolution and fragmentation. The primary conclusion drawn from this study is that DeLillo’s novel symptomizes an economic process that dissolves the geopolitical-existential status of the Human into obsolescence at an ever-accelerating rate, named as the postmodern.
Advisor: Simmons, Rochelle
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: English
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: DeLillo; Postmodern; Capitalism; Economics; Consumerism; Land; Deleuze; Guattari; Sublime; Accelerationism; Technological-Singularity
Research Type: Thesis