Hero in Contemporary American Fiction: The Works of Saul Bellow and Don Delillo

Overview

This book sets out to write nothing short of a new theory of the heroic for today's world. It delves into the “why” of the hero as a natural companion piece to the “how” of the hero as written by Northrop Frye and Joseph Campbell over half a century ago. The novels of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo serve as an anchor to the theory as it challenges our notions of what is heroic about nymphomaniacs, Holocaust survivors, spurious academics, cult followers, terrorists, celebrities, photographers and writers of novels ...

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Hero in Contemporary American Fiction: The Works of Saul Bellow and Don Delillo

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Overview

This book sets out to write nothing short of a new theory of the heroic for today's world. It delves into the “why” of the hero as a natural companion piece to the “how” of the hero as written by Northrop Frye and Joseph Campbell over half a century ago. The novels of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo serve as an anchor to the theory as it challenges our notions of what is heroic about nymphomaniacs, Holocaust survivors, spurious academics, cult followers, terrorists, celebrities, photographers and writers of novels who all attempt to claim the right to be “hero.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Aiming to change how we think about the cult of the individual--that is, about what the hero, the anti-hero, and the heroic can mean in the United States of our day—Halldorson is not afraid to tackle big topics (and they don’t come much bigger than this). This intellectually daring study combines astute historical contextualizing and canny theoretical re-conceptualizing with brilliant close readings of texts by two major American novelists."--Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto

"This book presents a serious, substantive discussion on Bellow and DeLillo and the subject of heroes. Halldorson offers perhaps the strongest and most provocative reading of DeLillo’s Mao II that I’ve encountered. Her assertions that the hero is always and only built upon a fictional narrative, and that the hero depends on the existence of the non-hero, even though there’s no place for the non-hero in America, are intriguing and convincingly supported."--Curtis Yehnert, Western Oregon University

“Halldorson’s original and innovative construction of a heroics of reading is a valuable contribution to the dramatic revival of the ethical turn in literary and theoretical inquiry. Halldorson is also a masterful reader of community and identity in DeLillo and Bellow, one who is richly attuned to their complex narrative investments.”--Thomas Carmichael, University of Western Ontario

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stephanie S. Halldorson completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Linda Hutcheon at the University of Toronto. She has received both Canada Council and Toronto Arts Council grants for her fiction writing and has been published in several literary journals. She currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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Table of Contents

Defining the Hero: Form
• Defining the American Hero: Story
Henderson the Rain King: The Hero Surrendered
Mr. Sammler's Planet: The Hero Accused
White Noise: The Hero Defended
Mao II: The Hero Returned

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