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Posts Tagged ‘Don DeLillo’

Underworld

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 26 June 2011

Cover to the first edition

Underworld by Don DeLillo, first edition cover

Underworld (1997) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Cosmopolis (2003),  Falling Man (2007), Point Omega (2010)  This magnificent and complex post-modern novel with its rich abundance of intertwined themes, from baseball to radioactive waste, from family, and love, to J. Edgar Hoover, from Jesuits to the Mafia, to name but a few, is, quite simply, essential reading. DeLillo’s superb sensitivity to language, and to the construction of honestly beautiful sentences and dialogue, make Underworld, and its ambiguous and sinister music of the spheres, an enduring, moving, thought-provoking pleasure. (PR)

See also our review of DeLillo’s 2010 novel Point Omega, here.

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Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 27 April 2011

PointOmega.jpg

Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

Point Omega (2010) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Underworld (1997), The Body Artist (2001), Falling Man (2007)).  Disturbing, masterful, spare; lucid and complex.

According to DeLillo, the novel considers an idea from “…the writing of the Jesuit thinker and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.”  The ‘Omega Point’ of the title “…[is] the possible idea that human consciousness is reaching a point of exhaustion and that what comes next may be either a paroxysm or something enormously sublime and unenvisionable.”  (According to Wikipedia, Teilhard makes sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets complexity as the axis of evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, into consciousness (in man), and then to supreme consciousness (the Omega Point).  The Omega Point is said to denote the state of  maximum organized complexity (complexity combined with centricity), towards which the universe is evolving.)

 As on knows, omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the New Testament, God is declared to be the “alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. (Wikipedia)

Omega can equally be thought of as the end of death or even time, or as the name of the end; in linguistics, as the phonological word; in textual criticism, as the archetype of a manuscript tradition

At the end of Point Omega, DeLillo, in his “Acknowledgment”, writes: “24 Hour Psycho, a videowork by Douglas Gordon, was first screened in 1993 in Glasgow and Berlin.  It was installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the summer of 2006.” 24 Hour Psycho is the showing of Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic film thriller Psycho (1960) slowed down from its usual 24 frames per second, 109 minute running time, so that it runs 1440 minutes, or 24 hours, at approximately 2 frames per second.  In Point Omega, the first and last sections of the DeLillo’s novel take place during a showing of 24 Hour Psycho.

24 Hour Psycho, as an artistic creation, deals with themes common to Gordon’s work, such as “recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light”, as one can learn in an piece in The Guardian.  Moreover, the slideshow and text accompanying it, as highly relevant as they are to DeLillo’s work, are fascinating in their own right.

With respect to the first edition cover of Point Omega, one could wonder at the presence of the sign for infinity, given the accepted literal and symbolic understanding of “omega” as, truly, the end.  Conscious choice and interesting implications of infinite endings, or even, the end of infinity?  Amusing joke?  Artist’s choice?  Coincidence? (PR)

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library.

Omega uc lc.svg

images: Wikipedia

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