Literary References to Don DeLillo and Other Postmodern Fiction Influences

Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama references Don DeLillo’s Mao II (Semtex…made in Czechoslovakia). Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City references Don DeLillo’s White Noise (paraphrase: how do you even get around in this world, without even a great internist; “How do you even get along in the world…” this discussion being had by super obsessive pop culture academics). Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City references Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49 (ex-child actor star), etc, Bret Easton Elllis is name-dropped, a tribute to David Foster Wallace (Ralph Warden Meeker), etc, seeing the big hulking tiger like seeing the tiger in Don DeLillo’s book Names, watching the shapes of flocks of birds out the window like in, I forget, Don DeLillo’s Names or Mao II.

In turn Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice references Jonathan Lethem’s Gun with Occasional Noise (private eye book with cabal of sinister dentists, unless they’re both referencing some old gumshoe trope I don’t know about). The first chapter quote (what do you call those pages before each chapter in a book where an author puts in quotes from other sources?) in David Mitchell’s Number 9 Dream is from Don DeLillo’s Americana. Inherent Vice name drops Dark Shadows several times which in my mind heavily influenced Twin Peaks. Mad Men is very similar in concept to the first few chapters of Don DeLillo’s Americana and part of Underworld with all of the NYC TV and ad executives.

In turn all of these books I think share some commonalities with the great Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut and books by Philip K. Dick. I always thought Kilgore Trout was inspired by Philip K Dick but it appears he was based on Theodore Sturgeon

Name some more in the comments!


One Response

  1. Lethem’s campus novel, As She Climbed Across The Table, is a pretty much a direct tribute to White Noise.

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