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Re-Imagining and Re-Placing New York and Istanbul

Exploring the Heterotopic and Third Spaces in Paul Auster's and Orhan Pamuk’s City Novels

Hatice Bay

The author re-examines the urban novels of Auster and Pamuk in the light of Foucault's heterotopia and Bhabha's the Third Space, respectively. Furthermore, for the discussions of the nature of the relationship between the self and the other, this present study deploys Emmanuel Levinas's ethics. This book argues that examining the urban spaces and characters of Auster and Pamuk through the prisms of Foucault, Bhabha and Levinas establishes a new critical framework that gives a constructive and ethical angle to the negative late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century discourses on the city and its inhabitants. The reader of this book will discover urban subjects who actively transform their respective cities into either heterotopic or Third Spaces and thereby become response-able for and attentive to their immediate surroundings, to their national or personal histories and, most importantly, to other people. At the same time, by bringing these two different cities, cultures and authors that are poles apart together, this book aims to problematize commonly held beliefs about Americanness and Turkishness and thus pave the way for looking at discourses such as «clash of civilizations», «margin» (Istanbul) and «center» (New York), the belated and the advanced from a critical point of view suggesting that there is a common discursive affinity with similar outlooks on life, personal, historical and physical spaces on both sides, rather than a «clash of civilizations». The arguments presented here will be of interest to students and scholars of city literature, comparative literature and history of ideas as well as to readers who have an interest in theory and close reading.

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2 The Construction of Heterotopias of Deviation and the Ethical Self in City of Glass


I have kept in mind the idea that the earth is in effect one world, in which empty, uninhabited spaces virtually do not exist. Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.

(Said, 1993, p. 7)

This chapter explores how City of Glass investigates and displays the entangled relations between space, power, resistance and ethics. It discusses how the protagonist Quinn through his appropriation, writing, and walkings around the spaces of New York constructs heterotopias of deviation, namely acts of resistance, which allow him to challenge the persisting tendency to grasp space as a means of domination and the individual as an orderly entity. It will mainly be argued that the spaces of power as inherent aspect of the indifferent spaces of New York and actively enacted by Peter Stillman’s itineraries and the spaces of resistance that are practiced by Quinn are intricately connected. Namely, despite and because of dominant spaces Quinn will be able to construct alternative spaces and assert a creative and ethical agency. Eventually, I conclude this chapter by arguing that the spaces of New York may be overwhelming and exclusionary, but they may at the same time be transformed into spaces where creative and caring subjectivities as well as transgressive (inclusionary) and...

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