Don DeLillo

American novelist, playwright and essayist
I'm a novelist, period. An American novelist

Donald Richard "Don" DeLillo (born November 20, 1936) is an award-winning American novelist, playwright, and essayist, best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

See also Cosmopolis



  • I think fiction recues history from its confusions.
    • '"An Outsider in this Society": An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Anthony DeCurtis, South Atlantic Quarterly, #89, No.2, 1988
  • I'm a novelist, period. An American novelist.
    • 'An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Maria Nadotti, Salmagundi #100, Fall, 1993
  • I am not particularly distressed by the state of fiction or the role of the writer. The more marginal, perhaps ultimately the more trenchant and observant and finally necessary he'll become.
    • 'The American Strangeness: An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Gerald Howard, The Hungry Mind Review, #47 , 1997
  • I think fiction comes from everything you've ever done, and said, and dreamed, and imagined. It comes from everything you've read and haven't read...I think my work comes out of the culture of the world around me. I think that's where my language comes from.
    • 'Exile on Main Street: Don DeLillo's Undisclosed Underworld' by David Remnick, The New Yorker, September 15, 1997
  • Popular culture is inescapable in the U.S. Why not use it?
    • '"Writing as a Deeper Form of Concentration": An Interview with Don DeLillo' by Maria Moss, Sources, Spring, 1999
  • The figure of the gunman in the window was inextricable from the victim and his history. This sustained Oswald in his cell. It gave him what he needed to live. The more time he spent in a cell, the stronger he would get. Everybody knew who he was now.
    • In Dallas, pt. 2 (1988).

End Zone (1972)Edit

  • I think what'll happen in the not-too-distant future is that we'll have humane wars. Each side agrees to use clean bombs. And each side agrees to limit the amount of megatons he uses. In other words, we'll get together with them beforehand and there'll be an agreement that if the issue can't be settled, whatever the issue might be, then let's make sure we keep our war as relatively clean as possible.
    • Ch. 16
  • Of course the humanistic mind crumbles at the whole idea. It's the most hideous thing in the world to these people that such ideas even have to be mentioned. But the thing won't go away. The thing is here and you have to face it. The prospect of a humane war may be hideous and all the other names you can think of, but it's still a prospect. And as an alternative to all the other things that could happen in the event of war, it's relatively acceptable.
    • Ch. 16
  • War is the ultimate realization of modern technology.
    • Ch. 16
  • I reject the notion of football as warfare. Warfare is warfare. We don't need substitutes because we've got the real thing.
    • Ch. 19

Great Jones Street (1974)Edit

  • I had centered myself, learning of the existence of an interior motion, a shift in the levels from isolation to solitude to wordlessness to immobility. When Opel occupied that center I became the thing that swirled.
    • Ch. 11
  • Evil is movement towards void.
    • Ch. 15

The Names (1982)Edit

  • I've come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.
    • Ch. 1
  • If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.
    • Ch. 4
  • In this century the writer has carried on a conversation with madness. We might almost say of the twentieth-century writer that he aspires to madness. Some have made it, of course, and they hold special places in our regard. To a writer, madness is a final distillation of self, a final editing down. It's the drowning out of false voices.
    • Ch. 5

White Noise (1984)Edit

  • Who will die first?
    • Ch. 4
  • I want to immerse myself in American magic and dread.
    • Ch. 5
  • All plots tend to move deathwards. This is the nature of plots.
    • Ch. 6
  • Every disaster made us wish for something bigger, grander, more sweeping.
    • Ch. 14
  • To become a crowd is to keep out death.
    • Ch. 15
  • I heard a noise, faint, monotonous, white.
    • Ch. 39

Mao II (1991)Edit

  • The future belongs to crowds
    • At Yankee Stadium
  • When a writer doesn't show his face, he becomes a local symptom of God's famous reluctance to appear.
    • Part 1, Ch. 3
  • "There's a curious knot that binds novelists and terrorists...Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated."
    • Part 1, Ch. 3
  • "Remember literature, Charlie? It involved getting drunk and getting laid."
    • Part 2, Ch. 9
  • "Stories have no point if they don't absorb our terror."
    • Part 2, Ch. 10
  • Terror makes the new future possible. All men one man, Men live in history as never before. He is saying we make an change history minute by minute. History is not the book or the human memory. We do history in the morning and change it after lunch.
    • In Beiruit

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