The enduring stuff of narrative
Late capitalist ideology and the end of history in Don DeLillo’s Underworld and Cosmopolis
The reevaluation of the past in Don DeLillo’s Underworld and Cosmopolis can be seen as a valuable counterargument to Francis Fukuyama’s triumphalistic claim that contemporary society heralds the end of history. The sublime multiplicity of history in both novels illustrates how time eventually collapses in the eternal present of capital and technology. Consequently, it appears that postindustrial society draws in the individual to create a system with no outside. DeLillo’s historiographic metafiction nonetheless shows how rewriting the past can prevent history from being conclusive and teleological. Narrative therefore provides an alternative to established History — in which all events connect in light of the inevitable — but it also resists the solipsistic void of speculation and hearsay.
Published online: 17 May 2011