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The State of Fiction:
Don DeLillo in the 21st Century
10 June 2015, University of Sussex
Keynote speaker: John N. Duvall (Purdue)

Writing also means trying to advance the art. Fiction hasn’t quite been
filled in or done in or worked out. We make our small leaps.
Don DeLillo, 1982

This one-day conference will address the state of fiction in contemporary
American culture by focusing on the extensive oeuvre of Don DeLillo, from
the 1970s to the present day and beyond. DeLillo commented shortly after
the publication of The Names that fiction had not yet been ‘filled in,’
‘done in,’ or ‘worked out.’ How do we read this thirty years later, in the
shadow of not only DeLillo’s major works but also the events that have
characterised our move into the Twenty-First Century? How have DeLillo’s
small leaps between the New York of Players (1977) and the New York of
Falling Man (2007) ‘filled in’ fiction? Has DeLillo’s pervasive influence
across contemporary American culture ‘done in’ postmodernism? Is the novel
in the Twenty First Century already ‘worked out’?

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