AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Identity in The Book of Illusions

by Katerina Malin Tancheva

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Identity, postmodernism
Record ID: 1120181
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/17740


This project aims to investigate how the concept of identity is portrayed in Paul Auster’s novel The Book of Illusions. Furthermore, it sets out to examine how the novel’s representation of identity is related to postmodernism in the literary arts. In order to carry out a complete and wholesome analysis to answer our problem definition we will attempt to apply selected theories that we find relevant for the project. Firstly, we will apply a narrative analysis of the novel, which will work, as our methodology. Following that, we will explain our theories of choice – postmodernism as explained by Simon Malpas and Brian McHale, intertextuality as explained by Graham Allen, and construction of identity according to Anthony Giddens and Kenneth Gergen. Once we have uncovered these, we will attempt to apply them to The Book of Illusions throughout our main analysis to see to what extend they correspond with our problem definition. From that, we feel sufficiently able to argue that identity and the changing thereof plays an important role in The Book of Illusions. The two main characters of the story are both in the process of changing identities several times over the course of the novel, although in different ways. Seeing as how postmodernism deals with ontological questions, and seeing as how the novel contains many elements related to the literary theory of postmodernism, we also suggest that The Book of Illusions can be said to be a postmodernist work of literature.