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Paul Auster and Postmodern Quest

On the Road to Nowhere


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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Appendix: Chronology of Paul Auster 203


APPENDIX Chronology of Paul Auster 1947 Born, Newark, NJ 1970 BA & MA, English Literature, Columbia University 1971 Moved to Paris 1972 A Little Anthology of Surrealist Poems 1973 Living Hand, Fits and Starts, Selected Poems of Jacques Dupin 1974 Returned to New York City Unearth 1975 Ingram Merill Foundation Grant for Poetry 1976 Lived in Canada and California Wall Writing The Uninhabited: Selected Poems of Andre du Bouchet 1977 Effigies Fragments from Cold Jean-Paul Sartre: Life/Situations Eclipse: A Play in One Act, Artists Theatre, NYC 1978 Columbia-PEN Translation Center Award Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) Grant for Poetry 1979 NEA Literary Fellowship for Poetry 1980 Facing the Music White Spaces 1982 The Art of Hunger The Invention of Solitude The Random House Book of 2(/h Century French Poetry Squeeze Play 1983 The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert: A Selection Stephane Mallarme: A Tomb for Anatole 1984 Ingram Merill Foundation Grant for Prose 204 Paul Auster and Postmodern Quest 1985 City of Glass Nominee, Edgar Award (City of Glass) NEA Literary Fellowship for Prose 1986 Ghosts The Locked Room Juan Mir6: Selected Writings and Interviews 1987 The New York Trilogy In the Country of Last Things 1988 Disappearances: Selected Poems 1989 Moon Palace 1990 Ground Work The Music of Chance American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters: Morton Dauwen Zabel Award Lire Award (Moon Palace) 1991 Nominee, PEN/Faulkner Award (The Music ofChance) 1992 Chevalier de I'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Award Leviathan Auggie Wren's Christmas Story Selected Poems of...

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