The insistent realism of Don DeLillo’s ‘Falling Man’ and Paul Auster’s ‘Man in the Dark’


  • Ugo Panzani Università degli Studi di Bergamo


Parole chiave:

American literature, 9/11, Don DeLillo, Falling Man, Paul Auster, Man in the Dark


Many scholars considered that the fictionalization of September 11 marked the apotheosis of the postmodern era of images and perception. At the same time, the WTC collapse inspired a kind of post 9/11 fiction characterised by strong realistic descriptions. The aim of this article is to understand how Don DeLillo's Falling Man (2007) and Paul Auster's Man in The Dark (2008) tried to find a way to present, through a complex recourse to realism, the uncanny events of 9/11 and its prolonged aftermath that culminated in the subsequent horrors of the Iraq war. The insistent assertion of a proper representation of the traumatic events explictly contrasts the evasive literary narrations and the imaginary counter-narratives that might erode the relevance of the events. Furthermore, the detailed representation of these tragedies opposes itself to the equally insistent aesthetics of terror, through a revaluation of what the American literary theorist Ihab Hassan correctly defined (with no religious implications) a “postmodern aesthetic of trust”, that “brings us to a fiduciary realism, a realism that redefines the relation between subject and object, self and other, in terms of profound trust.”


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Biografia autore

Ugo Panzani, Università degli Studi di Bergamo

Ugo Panzani graduated in 2008 in Comparative Literatures at the University of Torino (Italy), with a MA dissertation about the English and Anglo-American novel beyond Postmodernism. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Bergamo, Doctorate in EuroAmerican Literatures. His research project is about digital culture and the evolution of the novel. He is attending a research visit period at the Department of Digital Culture of the University of Bergen (Norway). He published the article “L’insufficienza della diagnosi. David Foster Wallace, Julian Barnes e la satira della narrativa postmodernista” (Studi e ricerche, Torino 2010).




Come citare

Panzani, Ugo. 2011. «The Insistent Realism of Don DeLillo’s ‘Falling Man’ and Paul Auster’s ‘Man in the Dark’». Altre Modernità, settembre, 76-90.



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