Inside the Man Behind Some of Literature’s Greatest Works


Contributing Editor Fred Gardaphe deconstructs Italian American novelist Don DeLillo with Newstalk.

This article, written by Ronan Breathnach, appears on Newstalk.

“I think he is the greatest scholar of American culture” – Fred Gardaphe on Don DeLillo

In an interview with Maria Nadotti in 1993 Don DeLillo said, “I’m a novelist, period. An American novelist”. Over an impressive career he has written novels looking at everything from global terrorism and economics to maths, art, and language. Given this wide range of subject matter covered in his books this quote is still probably the best way to describe DeLillo.

Susan spoke with Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College, and Tim Groenland of Trinity College Dublin in an attempt to get to grips with this great American novelist and what makes him tick.

Born into a working-class Italian family in the Bronx in 1936 DeLillo spent much of his childhood dreaming up baseball games he would internally commentate on. This active imagination proved beneficial when he left his advertising job in 1964 and began writing. What followed was a flourish of short stories and novels.

Read more, and listen to Susan, Fred, and Tim talk about the life and writing of Don DeLillo on Newstalk.

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