WBEZ | Don DeLillo http://www.wbez.org/tags/don-delillo Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For novelist Don DeLillo, sometimes a single picture is worth more than a thousand words http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/novelist-don-delillo-sometimes-single-picture-worth-more-thousand-words-103459 <p><p>Novelist Don DeLillo says some of his densest, most complex tomes have been inspired by viewing a single image. Often it&#39;s a photograph, or sometimes a painting, or even the blocky, visceral letters of the Greek alphabet carved into the frieze of a temple. The novelist behind classics like <em>Underworld </em>and <em>White Noise</em> was in Chicago last week to accept an award from the Chicago Public Library. Donna Seaman, senior editor for <em>Booklist</em>, spoke with DeLillo and teased out this thread in the author&#39;s work.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Take a listen to an extended excerpt from Seaman&rsquo;s interview with DeLillo,&nbsp; and check out some of the powerful images that spurred him to write.</p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F64925295&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe><p>On the influence of French New Wave cinema:</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dfZQpLSuxKE" width="420"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:20px;">&ldquo;I grew up in the Bronx, and we had movie theaters &ndash; plenty of them &ndash; and we went to the movies frequently, the young guys. Suddenly, a bit later, when I was living in Manhattan, European movies appeared, strikingly different from westerns and Hollywood musicals and so on. Truffaut, Godard, Antonioni &ndash; so many good directors. And it began to occur to me that &lsquo;film&rsquo; as it was now being called, could have the depth and range of an album. This was new to my mind.&rdquo;</span></p><p>On the newspaper headlines that inspired the novel <em>Underworld</em>:</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NY%20Times%20home%20page%20DeLillo.jpg" style="height: 390px; width: 500px; " title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size: 20px; ">&ldquo;Something made me go to the library. Some sense of importance beyond the [famous Brooklyn Dodgers vs. New York Giants baseball game]. I went and found the front page for </span><em style="font-size: 20px; ">The New York Times </em><span style="font-size: 20px; ">the day after the ball game, Oct. 4, 1951. . . The second headline across the page was &lsquo;Soviets explode nuclear bomb.&rsquo; I saw these two headlines, literally, in a pictorial way, the way they were matched, each followed by three columns of type, and of course some sort of historical resonance taking place. Bobby Thompson&rsquo;s home run became known immediately as the &lsquo;Shot heard &lsquo;round the world,&rsquo; which was a kind of American vanity, assuming that everyone in the world was aware of this ballgame. This got me started on </span><em style="font-size: 20px; ">Underworld</em><span style="font-size: 20px; ">.&rdquo;</span></p><p>On the influence of <em>Baader-Meinhof</em>, Gerhard Richter&rsquo;s painting series about the left-wing German militant group:&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Baader%20Meinhof%20DeLillo.jpg" style="height: 550px; width: 500px; " title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size:20px;">&ldquo;The first time I saw these paintings I wasn&rsquo;t that influenced by them; I wasn&rsquo;t that impressed by them. But when I saw them again and then again, I began to see things I hadn&rsquo;t seen the first time. I don&rsquo;t know if I could tell you what I saw &ndash; I&rsquo;m not an art critic . . .&nbsp; And so I wrote a short story about a woman sitting alone in a gallery. I tried to discover who she was and what would happen.&rdquo;</span></p><p>On the influence of a single image of September 11th:</p><p style="text-align: center; "><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/911%20guy%20Getty%20DeLillo.jpg" style="height: 389px; width: 300px; " title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size:20px;">&ldquo;Something in this photograph just hit me. There were much more dramatic photographs; I don&rsquo;t know why it was this one. About a day later it occurred to me: the briefcase was not his. This is what inspired me to write the novel [<em>Falling Man</em>]. Essentially to find out whose briefcase he was carrying.&rdquo;</span></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Don DeLillo spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library earlier this month. Click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/don-delillo-conversation-donna-seaman-103278">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 27 Oct 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/novelist-don-delillo-sometimes-single-picture-worth-more-thousand-words-103459