Don DeLillo's "world inside the world": Libra and latent history

T. Savvas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I suggest that Don DeLillo's 1988 novel about the assassination of J.F.K., Libra, may be read as an example of what the author, elsewhere in his corpus, labels latent history. Exploring this concept provides a framework for analysing both the metatextual dynamics of the novel, how it is situated in the discourse surrounding the event, and also of course the internal thematics of the novel, in particular its sleight of hand with regard to determinism, its astrological paranoia and its implications for cause and effect. I argue that the novel functions in a dialogic relationship with the official history of the case, the Warren Report, being a kind of fictional supplement to it. Indeed, I conclude by suggesting that the novel highlights the importance of stories to history, so that the voice of the fiction writer of Libra, DeLillo, overpowers that of the historian in the book, Nicholas Branch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-34
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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