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Paul Auster (1947 – )

Nationality: American Periods: American: 20th Century

novelist, essayist, poet, translator; known for his complex mystery novels

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City of Glass

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Criticism about Paul Auster

Paul Auster’s Postmodernist Fiction: Deconstructing Aristotle’s “Poetics”
“Paul Auster is a storyteller. In an interview with Stephen Rodefer he stated: ‘When I write, the story is always uppermost in my mind, and I feel that everything must be sacrificed to it.’1 He echoes Aristotle2 by recognising the logical priority of the story, although his postmodernist fiction denies any possibility of a teleological conception of art. Such art is ordered by a strict structure comprising of beginning, middle and end. The arrangement of the particular elements in its structure is governed by the universal principle to which everything must correspond. In Artistotle’s “Poetics” fear and pity are the goal of tragedy, just as the ludicrous is the goal of comedy. I will also use this concept of teleological art in my essay in the context of classical art , defined by an idea that exists outside the text and which structures the logical ordering of its events. In particular, I will like to concentrate on the occasions when Auster’s fiction seems to play with the predictability of such texts. It is precisely with this promise of an ‘easy’ popular fiction that Auster lures the reader into reading his novels, spinning endless stories like a modern Scherhezade. Auster, however, uses conventions of popular fiction in order to foil them. With no principle of central organisation or authorial voice to give meaning to events, the narrative’s logical sequence is disrupted. In the disjointed world of Paul Auster each fragment exists as a separate unit. With no causal order to link them together, the fragments are ruled by laws of random events and unpredictable chance.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Dragana Nikolic
From: Stillman’s Maze http://www.bluecricket.com/auster/auster.html
Paul Auster’s Urban Nothingness
“Auster and Berman (both living in New York) take note of city’s modern nothingness: a city grown so exceedingly large that it has finally lost its reference parameters. In the two American writers, the city becomes the embodiment of the paradigm of modernity, having become, in Berman’s words, ‘a multimedia representation whose auditorium is the whole world’.”
Contains: Criticism
Author: Nicola Caleffi
From: Alfa Zeta issue 54, april 1996, pp. 18-23

Biographical sites about Paul Auster

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Other sites about Paul Auster

Case of the Brooklyn Symbolist
“This New York Times Magazine profile of Auster examines why his novels seem to appeal more to a European sensibility.”
Contains: Commentary
Author: Adam Begley
From: New York Times Magazine August 30, 1992
Featured Author: Paul Auster
“News and Reviews From the Archives of The New York Times.”
From: The New York Times Online

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Last Updated Apr 29, 2013