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Paul Auster and Postmodern Quest

On the Road to Nowhere

Series:

Ilana Shiloh

Paul Auster published his first prose work, the autobiographical The Invention of Solitude, in 1982; since then his fiction has gained ever growing popular and critical acclaim. This book is a stimulating pioneering study of eight works that make up the Auster canon: The Invention of Solitude, the three novellas that comprise The New York Trilogy, and the novels In the Country of Last Things, Moon Palace, The Music of Chance, and Leviathan. Focusing on the quest – which she sees as the master narrative of all of Auster’s novels – Shiloh examines Auster’s writing in a multi-layered context of literary and philosophical paradigms relevant to his practice, such as the American tradition of the «open road,» the generic conventions of detective fiction, postmodernist concepts of the subject, Sartre’s and Camus’s existentialist theories, and Freud’s and Lacan’s psychoanalytic models, all of which offer enriching and insightful perspectives on Auster’s poetics.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Introduction, ..................................................................................... I Chapter One "You do not stop hungering for your father's love": The Invention of Solitude ................... 17 Chapter Two "On his best of walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere": City ofGlass ........ 35 Chapter Three "A case with nothing to do": Ghosts ...................................... 57 Chapter Four "The story is not in the words; it's in the struggle": The Locked Room .................................. 79 Chapter Five "A complex dance of guilt and desire": Leviathan and Moon Palace ................ .. I 07 Chapter Six "The end is only imaginary": Moon Palace and In the Country of Last Things .................. .. 13 7 Chapter Seven "It's an imaginary place, but it's also realistic": The Music ofChance ......................... !59 Conclusion The useless quest and the journey doomed to failure .............. 199 X Paul Auster and Postmodern Quest Appendix Chronology of Paul Auster .................................................... 203 Bibliography .................................................................................. 205 Index ................................................................................... .217

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