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Title: The space of the page in the writing of Don DeLillo, or the writer as advanced-artist
Author: Price, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 2865
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2012
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What happens when fiction is considered as a space for art, and when art is considered as a space for fiction? This thesis addresses these questions through a practice-led study of the fictional writings of Don DeLillo. DeLillo has been publishing novels since 1971, each of which have engaged with aspects of art production and art criticism. The formal implications of this have played a polarising role in the criticism that has gathered around his work, with some critics reading DeLillo's fictional artworks as evidence of a highly post-modem and plural production, whilst others have seen these works as more modernist reflections on the writing process. In this thesis propose that by reading DeLillo's writing through the art-historical oeuvre of Thomas Crow, and his notion of the 'advanced-artwork', that a new model of practice can be defined, where writing becomes the site for the production of visual art, and visual art becomes the site for writing. The 'advanced-artwork', according to Crow is formed by multiple practices that operate within a single work, and incorporates elements of critical thought within its physical production - qualities in DeLillo's fiction that have energised his critics, but have yet to be analysed using an analogous model from another field. After a review of the aspects of DeLillo criticism that that set the ground for these questions, and a parallel review of Crow's art-historical writings, I address the potential for synthesising these areas on two fronts. Firstly, by a detailed study of DeLillo's 1988 novel Libra, reading it through art-theory and proposing that the novel fulfils many of the criteria of the advanced-artwork, as well as showing how this reading allows many of the problematic questions in existing DeLillo criticism to be addressed. My second means of approaching Libra in these terms is the practical component of my thesis. This takes the form of a vi sual artwork made up of wri ting, produced in response to an archive ofDeLillo's drafts and working papers. Using a manual typewriter, like DeLillo himself, I reproduce successive drafts of sections of the novel that are conceptually related to the questions that in the rest of the thesis I have addressed in theoretical terms. In using this dual method of questioning of art's potential relationship to writing, I have attempted to use the work of a single author to reflect on the possibilities of writing as a medium for contemporary art-practice, and the potential of art to become a site of literary criticism. But by grounding my critique of DeLillo's fiction in the raw materials of the medium I have also attempted to question the space of the page in wider terms, as an expansive site of inter-disciplinary practice that allows its component parts to be set in critical discourse.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available