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Doubles, others, and the split-self: a Lacanian reading of identity in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy


Loren, Scott (2007). Doubles, others, and the split-self: a Lacanian reading of identity in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. In: Hellenic Association for American Studies - Ex-centric Narratives: Identity and Multivocality in Anglo-American Cultures - International Graduate Student Conference, Thessaloniki, March 2007 - March 2007.

Abstract

First published as a whole in 1987, Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy has often been referred to as a postmodern work of detective fiction. Comprised of three stories highly similar in structure and theme, the narrator of The Locked Room informs us: "These three stories are finally the same story, but each one represents a different stage in my awareness of what it is about" (294). The plots of the three stories are constructed around a protagonist who finds himself confronted by a certain task. Most poignant, perhaps, is that engagement in the task is coupled with a destabilization of the individual's sense of self. The more he engages this task, the more he is confounded by it and the more his surroundings take on an oddly conspiratorial appearance. We continually witness the individual in 'Lacanian moments', where he must address questions of his own subjectivity, must take on symbolic mandates, or is confronted by doubles in uncannily familiar mirror spaces, where another individual effectively equals himself, or where specters from his past come back to haunt him.

Abstract

First published as a whole in 1987, Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy has often been referred to as a postmodern work of detective fiction. Comprised of three stories highly similar in structure and theme, the narrator of The Locked Room informs us: "These three stories are finally the same story, but each one represents a different stage in my awareness of what it is about" (294). The plots of the three stories are constructed around a protagonist who finds himself confronted by a certain task. Most poignant, perhaps, is that engagement in the task is coupled with a destabilization of the individual's sense of self. The more he engages this task, the more he is confounded by it and the more his surroundings take on an oddly conspiratorial appearance. We continually witness the individual in 'Lacanian moments', where he must address questions of his own subjectivity, must take on symbolic mandates, or is confronted by doubles in uncannily familiar mirror spaces, where another individual effectively equals himself, or where specters from his past come back to haunt him.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Event End Date:March 2007
Deposited On:10 Sep 2018 09:37
Last Modified:10 Sep 2018 18:30
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/86210/

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