Don DeLillo, (1936-...), an American author, has gained fame for his brilliant use of language and his distinctive view of the modern United States. Critics have praised his major novels for their intelligence, imaginative storytelling, and wit. DeLillo often interweaves historical facts with fictional characters in his writing. His themes include the excesses of consumerism, mass culture, and politics in American society. Much of DeLillo's plays are comic and absurd.
The publication of WHITE NOISE (1985), a novel about death and technology, won DeLillo his first widespread recognition. The novel tells about Jack Gladney, a college professor who must deal with a toxic chemical cloud that threatens himself and his family.
DeLillo solidified his literary reputation with his next novel, LIBRA (1988). The novel is a fictionalized biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In UNDERWORLD
(1997), a man accused of murder comes into contact with some of the great events in modern history.
DeLillo's early novels had only modest sales and attracted little public attention, though most of the books received favorable reviews from critics. His first novel was AMERICANA (1971), which describes the adventures of a television executive who travels throughout the United States seeking the nation's soul and his own identity. DeLillo set END ZONE (1972) in the world of American college football. GREAT JONES STREET (1973) portrays the world of rock music stars and drugs. RATNER'S STAR (1976) is a science-fiction novel about a 14-year-old mathematical genius. The author modeled the novel after Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
DeLillo's other novels are PLAYERS (1977), RUNNING DOG (1978), THE NAMES (1982), MAO II (1991), THE BODY ARTIST (2001), and COSMOPOLIS (2003). He has also written short stories and plays, including "The Day Room" (1987) and "Valparaiso" (1999).
DeLillo was born on Nov. 20, 1936, in New York City. He graduated from Fordham University in 1958 and was an advertising copywriter during the early 1960s.
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