English 4850/5850: Special Topics: Single Author (Don DeLillo), Fall 2011

Section 01 (CRN 80870/80871): M 5:30-8:15PM, Arts & Sciences 353


Professor: Dr. Alex E. Blazer



Phone: 478.445.0964

Office: Arts & Sciences 330

Office Hours: MW 1:00-1:50

MW 4:55-5:25PM



Then we came to the end of another dull and lurid year.



Course Description


This course's Academic Assessment page describes our outcomes:

As a class we will read nine of Don DeLillo's 16 novels and one of his four plays as well as various short stories and essays; five groups of three will read, research, and present to the class an additional DeLillo novel. We will also study postmodern theory and DeLillo criticism. Undergraduate assignments include three papers, a reading journal, and a group project; graduate assignments include a reading journal, presentation, annotated bibliography, and two papers. This course's prerequisite is ENGL 1102.


Course Materials


required (GCSU Bookstore or

Americana (1971, 384pp)

End Zone (1972, 256pp)

The Names (1982, 352pp)
White Noise: Text and Criticism (1985, 336pp)

The Day Room (1986, 55pp)

Libra (1988, 480pp)

Mao II (1991, 256pp)

Underworld (1997, 832pp)

The Body Artist (2001, 128pp)

Cosmopolis (2003, 224pp)

optional (undergraduates will choose one of these to read)

Great Jones Street (1973, 272pp)

Ratner's Star (1976, 448pp)

Players (1977, 224pp)

Running Dog (1978, 256pp)

Amazons (1980, 390pp)

Falling Man (2007, 272pp)

Point Omega (2010, 117pp)


Gibaldi, MLA Handbook, 7th ed.

Don DeLillo (Wikipedia)

The Don DeLillo Society: Bibliography

Don DeLillo's America: Bibliography

required (online)

supplemental short stories and articles


Assignments and Grade Distribution


4850 Undergraduate Students


reading journal and Wikipedia Entry, 15%

You will keep a reading journal; one entry will be written prior to class discussion and shared with the class.

group presentation, 10%

Groups of three will read, research, and present on one of the seven other DeLillo novels that the class is not reading as a whole.

significant passage paper, 20%

In the first paper of 4-5 pages, you will select a significant passage from a primary text and analyze how it sets up the overall issue or theme of the work.

comparison/contrast paper, 25%

In the second paper of 6-7 pages, you will compare and contrast an issue or idea in two primary texts.

research paper, 30%

In the final paper of 8-10 pages, you will research an idea or issue relevant to Don DeLillo's work.


5850 Graduate Students


reading journal and Wikipedia entry, 15%

You will keep a reading journal; one entry will be written prior to class

discussion and shared with the class.

presentation, 10%

You will select and present an article to class, in effect, teaching a portion of the class.

comparison and contrast paper, 30%

In the first paper of 8-10 pages, you will compare and contrast an issue, idea, or theme in two primary texts, either by DeLillo or DeLillo and a contemporary novelist of your choosing.

annotated bibliography, 10%

In preparation for your research paper, you will annotate 15 scholarly sources.

research paper, 35%

In the final paper of 12-15 pages, you will research an idea or issue relevant to Don DeLillo's work.


Course Policies


Class Preparation and Participation

I expect you to come to class having read, annotated, and reviewed the assigned reading. Moreover, you should prepare at least two comments and two questions for each reading. We're going to be working with challenging texts; therefore, we'll all benefit from sharing our ideas and questions. If I feel that you're not participating because you're not keeping up with the reading, I will give quizzes.

Office Hours and Email

I encourage you to stop by my office hours to discuss any aspect of the course. I'm happy to answer minor questions such as due dates over email, but I prefer face-to-face conversations for more substantive topics like papers and exams. Please use etiquette in both email and in person.


We will be using GeorgiaVIEW and TurnItIn for assignments. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service such as Dropbox to save your work.


Any student who misses four or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will automatically failure of the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond two. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include a death in one's immediate family, one's own medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than three days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. You can check your attendance online. A note about religious observances: Students are permitted to miss class in observance of religious holidays and other activities observed by a religious group of which the student is a member without academic penalty. Exercising of one's rights under this policy is subject to the GC Honor Code. Students who miss class in observance of a religious holiday or event are required to make up the coursework missed as a result from the absence. The nature of the make-up assignments and the deadline for completion of such assignments are at the sole discretion of the instructor. Failure to follow the prescribed procedures voids all student rights under this policy. The full policy and prescribed procedures can be found here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

While in-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted, formal assignments and take-home exams must adhere to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) header, heading, and title, 2) margins, font, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a one-third letter grade penalty. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by using the checklist on the MLA style handout. I encourage students to use my MS Word template.

Late Assignments

There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within a five days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The submission of another's work as one's own is plagiarism and will be dealt with using the procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. Allowing another student to copy one’s own work is considered cheating. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, any student found guilty of willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology, The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: 1) failing to regularly attend class, 2) plagiarizing, 3) failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability

If you have a disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility.  Disability Services, a unit of the GCSU Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GCSU programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements.  For documentation requirements and for additional information, we recommend that you contact Disability Services located in Maxwell Student Union at 478-445-5931 or 478-445-4233.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Lanier Hall 209, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Fire Drills

Fire drills will be conducted annually. In the event of a fire alarm, students will exit the building in a quick and orderly manner through the nearest hallway exit. Learn the floor plan and exits of the building. Do not use elevators. If you encounter heavy smoke, crawl on the floor so as to gain fresh air. Assist disabled persons and others if possible without endangering your own life. Assemble for a head count on the front lawn of main campus or other designated assembly area. For more information on other emergencies, click here.

Student Opinion Surveys

Given the technological sophistication of Georgia College students, the student opinion survey is being delivered through an online process. Your constructive feedback plays an indispensable role in shaping quality education at Georgia College. All responses are completely confidential and your name is not stored with your responses in any way. In addition, instructors will not see any results of the opinion survey until after final grades are submitted to the University. An invitation to complete the online opinion survey is distributed to students near the end of the semester. Your participation in this very important process is greatly appreciated.


Course Schedule


This schedule is subject to change, so check back in class and online for possible revisions.


Week 1

M, 8-15

Americana, Parts One-Two (1971, 384pp)


Storey, "Postmodernism"

Week 2

M, 8-22

Americana, Parts Three-Four

End Zone, Chapters 1-23 (1972, 256pp)

Connor, "Postmodernism and Literature"

Recommended: Powell, "What Is Postmodernism?"

Week 3

M, 8-29

End Zone, Chapters 24-30

Lewis, "Postmodernism and Fiction"

Recommended: "The River Jordan" (1960)

Recommended: "Take the 'A' Train" (1962)

Undergraduate: Group Presentation Sign Up

Week 4

M, 9-5

No Class: Labor Day

Week 5

M, 9-12

The Names, Chapters 1-7 (1982, 352pp)

Recommended: "Spaghetti and Meatballs" (1965)

Recommended: "Coming Sun. Mon. Tues." (1966)

MLA Style

In Class Activity: Significant Passage Roundup

Undergraduate: Group Presentation Selection Due

Reading Journal Due

Week 6

M, 9-19

The Names, Chapters 8-14

Recommended: "Baghdad Towers West" (1967)

Recommended: "The Uniforms" (1970)

In Class Activity: Comparing and Contrasting Recurring Themes

Undergraduate: Significant Passage Paper Due

Week 7

M, 9-26

White Noise, all (1985, 336pp)

Recommended: "In the Men's Room of the Sixteenth Century" (1971)

Recommended: "Total Lost Weekend" (1972)

In Class Activity: The Structure of White Noise: Waves and Radiation

Week 8

M, 10-3

White Noise, criticism

The Day Room (1986, 55pp)

Recommended: "Creation" (1979)

In Class Activity: Annotating DeLillo Criticism

Week 9

M, 10-10

No Class: Fall Break

Week 10

M, 10-17

"American Blood: A Journey through the Labyrinth of Dallas and JFK" (1983)

Libra, Part One (1988, 480pp)

Recommended: "Human Moments in World War III" (1983)

Week 11

M, 10-24

Libra, Part Two

Mao II, At Yankee Stadium-Part One (1991, 256pp)

Green, "Libra" (2008)

Recommended: "The Ivory Acrobat" (1988)

Comparison/Contrast Paper Due

Reading Journal Due

Week 12

M, 10-31

Mao II, Part Two-In Beirut

"The Power of History" (1997)

Underworld, Prologue-Part 1 (1997, 832pp)

Recommended: "The Runner" (1988)

Recommended: Great Jones Street (1973)

Undergraduate: Great Jones Street | Presentation

Week 13

M, 11-7

Underworld, Parts 2-4

Recommended: "The Angel Esmeralda" (1995)

Recommended: Players (1977)

Undergraduate: Players Presentation

Week 14

M, 11-14

Underworld, Part 5-Epilogue

Recommended: KCRW's Bookworm (1998)

Recommended: "Baader-Meinhof" (2002)

Recommended: Running Dog (1978)

Undergraduate: Running Dog Presentation

In Class Activity: Underscoring Underworld

Week 15

M, 11-21

The Body Artist, all (2001, 128pp)

"In the Ruins of the Future" (2001)

Recommended: "Midnight in Dostoevsky" (2009)

Recommended: Falling Man (2007)

Undergraduate: Falling Man Presentation

Graduate: Annotated Bibliography

Week 16

M, 11-28

Cosmopolis, all (2003, 224pp)

Recommended: KCRW's Bookworm (2003) Part 1 | 2

Recommended: Lannan Podcast (2010)

Recommended: Game 6 (2005, 87min)

Recommended: "Hammer and Sickle" (2010)

Recommended: Point Omega (2010)

Undergraduate: Point Omega Presentation


M, 12-5

Reading Journal Due

Research Paper Due