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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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6 Heterotopical Investigations into History/Time and Geography/Space in Moon Palace


History is always written from the sedentary point of view and in the name of the unitary State apparatus, at least a possible one, even when the topic is nomads. What is lacking is Nomadology, the opposite of a history.

(Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, p. 23)

The best place to find new landscapes is in the West.

(Jackson, 1984, p. 141)

The last chapter of Part I focuses on Moon Palace. The novel is mostly about a traumatized character Marco Stanley Fogg, who attempts to construct a distinctive self and a distinctive place in the world. Through his excursions across the city spaces of New York and some specific sites such as Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Columbia art library and other American landscapes (especially the American West), Fogg not only finds and loses his ancestors; he at the same time rewrites a (counter-)history of the nation. Meanwhile, his grandfather Thomas Effing also contributes to the cultural history of the USA through his innovative re-evaluation of the trajectories of his country’s past and present. Thus, through constructing other spaces, both Effing and Fogg reconstruct different histories and geographies.

The otherness of these characters’ histories and spaces has profound implications within the scope of this study. Firstly, as I indicated in the Theory Chapter, the characters’ meanderings show that historiography or genealogy is not solely about a linear temporal representation of the past. Contrary to...

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