White Violence and Spectral Blackness in Don DeLillo’s Zero K

Mariya Dimitrova Nikolova


Don DeLillo’s work is often framed as a visionary and ethical reflection on contemporary crises. Such reception redoubles an idea of white American farsightedness and morality that is already embedded in many of DeLillo’s stories—most recently in his 2016 novel Zero K. The following article challenges celebratory rhetoric surrounding this narrative both in terms of how texts work to position DeLillo in the line of American writers who address and thus metaphorically dismantle social evils, and how these texts enable visions of American heroism and transcendence despite and due to narrative exclusions, politics of exclusion, and repeated legitimization of white supremacy. I signal towards long-disregarded anti-blackness in DeLillo’s oeuvre, and consider some of its pronunciations in Zero K. I thus analyze some of the techniques and technologies through which DeLillo’s novel prolongs narratives of white supremacy.


White Supremacy, Anti-Blackness, Orientalism, Don DeLillo, Narrative, Zero K

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5283/copas.320


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