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The DisarticulateLanguage, Disability, and the Narratives of Modernity$
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James Berger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708460

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708460.001.0001

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Post-Modern Wild Children, Falling Towers, and the Counter-Linguistic Turn

Post-Modern Wild Children, Falling Towers, and the Counter-Linguistic Turn

(p.105) 3 Post-Modern Wild Children, Falling Towers, and the Counter-Linguistic Turn
The Disarticulate

James Berger

NYU Press

This chapter expands the discussion on the problematics of the critique of a totalizing modern social-symbolic order by turning to the novels of Paul Auster, Jerzi Kosinski, and Don DeLillo. Their novels reveal the old Enlightenment figure of the wild child reinvoked and reimagined. In these post-modern texts, the biologistic ideologies have fallen into disrepute, containing Rousseauean, utopian echoes of primal, innocent man who challenges the fallen social-linguistic order. Auster's City of Glass conflates a post-Babel linguistic condition of shifting signifiers with the economic and social crises of New York in the 1970s. In Kosinski's Being There, the Edenic, unfallen garden merges with the blankness of television broadcast, and Chance, the wild child, emerges from that mixed but homogenous domain. In DeLillo's White Noise, American consumer culture is presented as a Baudrillardian simulation whose surface cannot be punctured even by death.

Keywords:   modern social-symbolic order, Paul Auster, Jerzi Kosinski, Don DeLillo, old Enlightenment, wild child, post-modern, City of Glass, Being There, White Noise

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