File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_2000/phillitcrit.0010, message 37


Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 15:21:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: PLC: Re: delillo underworld



On Mon, 23 Oct 2000 14:33:57 +1100, phillitcrit-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu
wrote:

>  On reading DeLillo, Underworld, the first chapter, the baseball game-
>  it struck me that the bat hitting the ball, the ball flying in a
>  parabolic curve into the crowd could be a trope and poetic image of
>  history. 
>  
>  Could this possibly be another take on Leibniz in the sense that point
>  of view in realist fiction has a debt to Leibniz's philosophical
>  writings. In DeLillo a sort of line of history as parabolic. All
>  the ordinary points along that line, the dx/dy of the line, in
>  Leibniz calculus terms,  are singular points of history, the
>  historic and in DeLillo a trope of history. A poetic image of
>  history. A history fiction, perhaps.
>  
>  Anyone else interested in DeLillo's Underworld? Other thinking re
>  this book?

Yes, I am very interested in Underworld. I recently submitted to a journal
an essay I wrote dealing with DeLillo's use of chaos theory, Heraclitus'
philosophy, and Bell's THeorem - especially regarding his concept of
history. I see his concept of history being more molded by those things -
especially Bell's Theorem, as applied to History. Bell's Theorem is a theory
of quantum physics that states that whenever any two particles come into
contact with one another, they forever influence each other in a completely
random and unpredictable manner. We are not just talking a changed
trajectory from having bounced off of each other either. We are talking
about differences in spin, momentum, everything. If one particle undergoes a
change a thousand years after contacting a particle, it still affects that
other particle. I took this idea and looked at the way DeLillo represents
history. If you look at the interactions of his characters, you see that
seemingly small interactions between people sometimes become big (as chaos
theory would predict), and that each interaction between people forever
alters their trajectories through life. 

Troy Camplin





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