Abstract Title

Examining the Influence of Continental Philosophy on Postmodern Literature: A Nietzschean Reading of Don DeLillo’s White Noise

Abstract

What can Continental philosophy help us understand about how we read and explicate meaning in literature? Given that many works of modern and postmodern literature mirror the same central tenets as the ideas of Continental philosophers, such as a staunch rejection of absolutes, a rejection of truth, and a rejection of meaning outside of human consciousness, looking at the viewpoints and ideas of various Continental philosophers—in tandem with literary works—an enrich our understanding of philosophical texts and literary texts alike. This project addresses a portion of the intersection of English and Philosophy as fields of study. Through a critical philosophical analysis of Don DeLillo’s White Noise, conducted in dialogue with the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, this project—as a case study—seeks to enforce the idea that an education in Continental philosophy allows students to develop an enriched understanding of modern and postmodern literature, as well as philosophical literature, that is uniquely informed by interdisciplinary exchange. By reading DeLillo in dialogue with Nietzsche, the reader may gain an understanding of the philosophical problems presented by DeLillo, an elucidation of Nietzsche’s own ideas, and a grasp of potential problems with modernity and the way we perceive truth in the our world. Examining the ways in which Continental philosophy and English literature influence each another will create a common ground for interdisciplinary discussion, which may enhance our understanding of the complex ideas presented—in both works of postmodern literature and of Continental philosophy—in unique ways.

Modified Abstract

What can Continental philosophy help us understand about how we read and explicate meaning in literature? Many modern and postmodern authors mirror the same central tenets as the ideas of Continental philosophers, such as a rejection of absolutes, truth, and meaning outside of human consciousness. Through a critical philosophical analysis of Don DeLillo’s White Noise, conducted in dialogue with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, this case study seeks to reveal the ways in which an education in Continental philosophy may enrich our understanding of modern and postmodern literature. By reading DeLillo and Nietzsche in tandem, we may gain an understanding of the philosophical problems presented by DeLillo, an elucidation of Nietzsche’s ideas, and a grasp of potential problems with modernity and how we perceive truth.

Research Category

English/Languages/Communication

Author Information

Alyssa FernandezFollow

Primary Author's Major

English

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Edward

Dauterich

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

April 2019

headshot.jpg (55 kB)

Research Area

Continental Philosophy | Literature in English, North America

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Examining the Influence of Continental Philosophy on Postmodern Literature: A Nietzschean Reading of Don DeLillo’s White Noise

What can Continental philosophy help us understand about how we read and explicate meaning in literature? Given that many works of modern and postmodern literature mirror the same central tenets as the ideas of Continental philosophers, such as a staunch rejection of absolutes, a rejection of truth, and a rejection of meaning outside of human consciousness, looking at the viewpoints and ideas of various Continental philosophers—in tandem with literary works—an enrich our understanding of philosophical texts and literary texts alike. This project addresses a portion of the intersection of English and Philosophy as fields of study. Through a critical philosophical analysis of Don DeLillo’s White Noise, conducted in dialogue with the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, this project—as a case study—seeks to enforce the idea that an education in Continental philosophy allows students to develop an enriched understanding of modern and postmodern literature, as well as philosophical literature, that is uniquely informed by interdisciplinary exchange. By reading DeLillo in dialogue with Nietzsche, the reader may gain an understanding of the philosophical problems presented by DeLillo, an elucidation of Nietzsche’s own ideas, and a grasp of potential problems with modernity and the way we perceive truth in the our world. Examining the ways in which Continental philosophy and English literature influence each another will create a common ground for interdisciplinary discussion, which may enhance our understanding of the complex ideas presented—in both works of postmodern literature and of Continental philosophy—in unique ways.