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A labyrinth of endless steps : the postmodern city and Paul Auster's urban detective

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A labyrinth of endless steps : the postmodern city and Paul Auster's urban detective

Burke, Allan Andrew (1997) A labyrinth of endless steps : the postmodern city and Paul Auster's urban detective. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Taking as its starting point Fredric Jameson's assertion that postmodernity is marked by "a mutation in built space itself," this thesis examines the representation of urban space in Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy and attempts to characterize the effects of this spatial mutation on Auster's detective protagonists. The detective's traditional cognitive function is shown to depend upon a cartographical ability to spatially organize the events of a case as part of the process of transforming them into a coherent narrative in hopes of producing a solution. The novels which constitute Auster's trilogy, City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room demonstrate that this spatio-cognitive function has become more difficult for the urban detective as, with the transition from modernity to postmodernity, cities have grown to staggering proportions. The sheer immensity of the postmodern city has rendered the detective's task of bringing a series of disparate and random facts together nearly impossible. This inability to comprehend the totality is precisely the effect of postmodernity that Jameson diagnoses in the postmodern subject and thus Auster's detectives are read as proxy for the postmodern subject in general.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Burke, Allan Andrew
Pagination:v, 153 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Dept. of English
Date:1997
Thesis Supervisor(s):Frank, Marcie
ID Code:172
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:10
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:13
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