Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2005 Newsletter

No White Noise


Don DeLillo speaking in Jessen Auditorium.

The Ransom Center joined with the James A. Michener Center for Writers to host renowned American novelist Don DeLillo.

As he rarely makes public appearances, DeLillo read to a packed house at Jessen Auditorium on February 10.

DeLillo, who had a voluminous catalog from which to draw for the reading, offered his own parenthetical take on Texas through his choice of material. He began with a selection from the magnificent 14-page description of the Kennedy assassination in his novel Libra, his delivery demure and penetrating. After a brief segue consisting of background on the Zapruder film, DeLillo launched into a section from his magnum opus Underworld in which the notorious amateur film plays a central role.

DeLillo concluded the evening by taking a number of questions from the audience, revealing some of the processes of his writing and providing insight into the rationales behind some of the decisions in his art.

Among those in attendance were several who had traveled to Austin from remote locations. Michael Karpus, a writer and DeLillo devotee from Miami, spent several days prior to the event examining materials from the DeLillo archive recently acquired by the Ransom Center. "I had the chance to look over some articles I hadn't before seen, as well as the notebooks for Underworld. It's been great — well worth the trip," said Karpus.  

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