Writing in real-time, fictions of digitization: the novels of Don DeLillo and Dave Eggers

Muscolino, Stephen J. (2017) Writing in real-time, fictions of digitization: the novels of Don DeLillo and Dave Eggers. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

By tracking the intersection of contemporary fiction and the information technologies of the digital age, this thesis argues that the narratives being produced over the past ten years have evolved into a distinct genre of literature, one where the aesthetics of fragmentation and postmodern uncertainty must confront the new realities of a digitally saturated culture and society. In order to demonstrate this alteration in contemporary fiction, this thesis considers novels written within the past ten years that reflect on this new form of textuality, namely Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis (2003) and David Eggers’ The Circle (2013). These texts demonstrate a paradigm shift in contemporary literature, a new kind of fiction in which American society, culture, economics, and politics, are all directly affected by various forms of digital mediatisation. These authors reflect an altered cultural zeitgeist within their fiction—writings which can be differentiated from the postmodern literary aesthetic—prompted by neoteric digital technologies coupled with the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. Although this topic is broad and covers multiple fields of scholarly interests, my thesis nonetheless concerns itself with a very specific line of questioning: will our authors have the imaginative wherewithal and social sensitivity to keep pace with changes brought forth by the explosion of information technologies? If so, what type of fiction is likely to emerge from this new digital environment? By taking a focused approach and using contemporary literature as representative of these massive social, economic, and political transformations, my research recalls Kurt Vonnegut’s “Canary in the Coal Mine” dictum: the writer has always been the first to notice the dramatic effects of technology on the individual and the culture at large.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Cultural digitization, contemporary American fiction, postmodern literature, post-postmodern literature, information technologies, internet studies, Dave Eggers, Don DeLillo.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Burn, Doctor Stephen
Date of Award: 2017
Embargo Date: 12 June 2020
Depositing User: Mr Stephen John Muscolino
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8276
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2017 13:13
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2017 12:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8276

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