PJAS 11 Spring-8

Karolina Słotwińska-Pełka
Apocalyptic Vistas in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 11 (Spring 2017), pp. 99-116

Abstract: This essay proposes to read Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis as an allegorical treatment of turn-of-the-century concerns about the crisis of representation of capitalism. Cosmopolis read in this way becomes a tale of capitalist and narrative apocalypse which stages the confrontation of opposing forces of “the future” and “the past,” or the utopian desire inscribed in the capitalist vision of time and the carnivalesque practice of subjects under capitalism. The use of allegorical form and the mocking framework of Bakhtinian carnival allows for Cosmopolis to be read not as high satire but popular comedy. I argue that by implicating the writer as a character in this apocalyptic allegory, DeLillo prevents the glorification of the writer to the position of an authoritative voice in history, leaving the final judgment of the capitalist myths to the reader.

Keywords: Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis, allegory, apocalypse, carnival, Bakhtin, capitalism, plague

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.11/1/2017.08

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