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Literary Precedents for Great Jones Street

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The greatest account of an artist's effort to withdraw from his public role in order to live as he wishes is found in Rousseau's Confessions (1782), and his related autobiographical writings.

This may seem to be an irrelevant or needlessly grandiose comparison, but the impossible complexity of the artist's role in society since the mid-eighteenth century is an important issue, and many autobiographies, biographies, and novels have explored it.

(Works by Henry James, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, and Thomas Mann come readily to mind.) DeLillo uses the framework of a rather tawdry effort at exploitation (Bucky is made the custodian of a putatively valuable wonder drug for which several underground groups are competing), but questions of the integrity of the artist, and the ability of the artist to communicate, consistently arise in this novel. From another perspective, the absurdity of claiming "artistic stature" for a mere pop...

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This section contains 186 words
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Buy the Great Jones Street Short Guide
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Great Jones Street from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.