Remembering Oneself, Charting the Other
Remembering Oneself, Charting the Other. Memory as Intertextuality and Self-Reflexivity in the Works of Paul Auster
ISBN 978-3-86821-362-1, 312 S., kt., € 34,50 (2012)
(CAT - Cultures in America in Transition, Bd. 4)
Paul Auster’s oeuvre – which comprises novels, non-fiction, essays, and poetry – acquires a new dimension when it is approached from the perspective of memory studies in literature. Memory in his texts is a variegated concept the forms and functions of which invite a closer analysis that the present volume pursues. On the one hand, memory is considered here as a theme and a question that Auster develops and attempts to answer. On the other hand, it is understood as a structuring and ordering device that provides him with a complex pattern for his narrative invention. The desire to define memory and to elucidate the elusive process of recollection inextricably involves the pursuit of the questions of narrative, story, and identity. The interrelated aspects of the self – the living self, the remembering/recollecting self, and the narrating/writing self – as well as the dynamic relation between the individual and the collective memory are recognized and discussed in this volume in terms of underlying all other queries that Auster pursues in his writing. The theoretical frame of reference in Remembering Oneself, Charting the Other – Memory as Intertextuality and Self-Reflexivity in the Works of Paul Auster finds its foundations in the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin and Sigmund Freud. It is further expanded and developed with recourse to the texts of Walter Benjamin, Gaston Bachelard, Paul Ricœur, Maurice Blanchot, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Wolfgang Iser, Renate Lachmann, and Richard Terdiman, among others. The discussion of the literary and cultural memory in terms of an aesthetic intertextual dialogue is situated in the contexts of the works by Marcel Proust, and – most substantially – Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett.
"Kuczma comvincingly demonstrates the various functions and forms of memory for and in Auster's oeuvre."
Eva Brunner, Amerikastudien / American Studies 58.2 (2013)