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Paul Auster

BROWN, Mark (2007) Paul Auster. Contemporary American and Canadian writers . Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719073960

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Abstract or description

Paul Auster's work has always been associated with New York City. 'Paul Auster' explores his key themes of identity, paternity and loss; language and writing; metropolitan living, chance and community; and storytelling, magic, dreams and illusion. Through the relationships between both Auster and his central characters and New York, I explore how the incorporation of these themes into his art - which encompasses essays, autobiography, poetry, novels and films - has changed. I trace how, as his writing has matured, Auster's response to New York has moved from a position of urban nihilism to one of relative and qualified optimism. I also show the way in which the form Auster adopts influences his treatment of his central concerns. For example, the poetry displays a uni-vocal solitude that is replaced in the novels by a dialogue between characters and their (ostensibly urban) predicaments. This 'heteroglossia' (he has acknowledged his debt to Bakhtin in interview and in his work) is exceeded by a cacophony of urban voices in the mid-nineties in the films Auster made with Wayne Wang. Auster has likened the opening up of his language and tone from one form to another, and the expansion of his focus from the individual to the metropolitan, as like the opening of 'a clenched fist'. The book considers this opening up with a close examination of Auster's shift from the dense and introspective poems of the 70s, through the provisionally social novels of the 80s and 90s, to the relatively optimistic and critically acclaimed films and collaborative projects, and beyond to his return to fiction in the last two or three years.

Item Type: Book / Proceeding
Subjects: Q300 English studies
T700 American studies
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Journalism, Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mark BROWN
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 16:07
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2013 16:07
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1582

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