Walking in Deserts, Writing out of Wounds

Jewishness and Deconstruction in Paul Auster´s Literary Work


1. Auflage, 2008
181 Seiten

ISBN: 978-3-8253-5366-7
Sortiment: Buch
Ausgabe: Gebunden
Fachgebiet: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Reihe: American Studies – A Monograph Series, Band: 155
lieferbar: 06.05.2008

Schlagwörter: USA, Dekonstruktion, Erzähltechnik, Judentum, Jüdischsein, Derrida, Jacques, Juden in den USA, Auster, Paul


This analysis of selected texts by the Jewish-American author Paul Auster demonstrates the importance of Jewish teaching and history in his work for the development of a deconstructive style of writing. Marina Tsvetaeva’s and Edmond Jabès’ dictum, “all poets are Jews”, serves as the focus on the aesthetic experience of alienation from language, which corresponds to the alienation from Jewish tradition in Auster’s poetry and prose. In Auster’s critical reception of Jacques Derrida, this alienation appears as a wound initiating the writing process. Since language is characterized by inconsistency and changeability, the lyrical persona keeps walking on stony paths through desert-like areas, while its destination to render some sort of “truth” remains out of sight.
Focusing on Auster’s poetry and his novels 'The Invention of Solitude', 'City of Glass', 'In the Country of Last Things', and 'The Book of Illusions', this investigation attempts to explain why the connection of Auster’s aesthetic intentions with Jewish thought led him to abandon poetry altogether for the medium of prose. The interpretation of the religious dimension of these novels offers new readings which move away from the fixation on postmodern playfulness and arbitrariness.

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in: American Literature, vol. 81, June 2009, 13