Staging the counter-narrative in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man

McKinney, Ronan (2018) Staging the counter-narrative in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man. In: Da Cunha Lewin, Katherine and Ward, Kiron (eds.) Don DeLillo. Contemporary Critical Perspectives . Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 111-126. ISBN 9781350040861

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The 9/11 attacks provoked an intensified sense of individual and collective vulnerability in the US, and a corresponding effort to reassert the integrity of the body politic – to clearly demarcate self and other, friend and foe. In his 2001 essay ‘In the Ruins of the Future’, DeLillo proposed a ‘counter-narrative’ that would disrupt the fantasized clarity of such boundaries. This chapter presents DeLillo’s 2007 novel Falling Man as a more developed articulation of that ‘counter-narrative’. Using the work of Leo Bersani and Judith Butler, I show how, in Lianne Neudecker’s interactions with the paintings of Giorgio Morandi and with the performance artist ‘Falling Man’, art mediates trauma by constructively repeating it. This allows Lianne to reconceive vulnerability not as a threatened violation of her psychic or bodily integrity, but as its fundamental condition. As such, Falling Man offers a re-description of subjectivity that undermines the fictions of sovereignty and security that sustain neoliberal and neoconservative ideologies.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: DeLillo; Falling Man; Giorgio Morandi; 9/11; September 11
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
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Depositing User: Ronan McKinney
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 14:34
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:34

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