Away, A Novel, And a Critical Essay on Narrative Space with Reference of Paul Auster's Fiction
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ABSTRACT Name of Candidate: Maria José de Brito Capelo Title of thesis: Away, a novel, and a critical essay on narrative space with reference of Paul Auster’s fiction
My novel, Away, is mainly the story of a woman travelling alone, leaving all friends and relatives behind. She seeks out remote, beautiful and difficult places where, firstly, she has travelled to before and, then, different locations that she hasn’t known in the past. We discover that, through trauma, she has lost her sense of identity – she is in the midst of a psychological crisis that becomes clear only after the journey has been underway for some time, when circumstances force her to accept help from others. With the protagonist my aim was to portray a permanent and continuous possibility of ending, stretching endlessly. This idea is irretrievable from the notion of space, as conceived here. In Part I, I explore how not only this main character, but also, Fred embody space. Here, I examine the conception of space, taking in various perspectives raging from philosophy, geography, culture and literature studies, where we find an interdisciplinary approach to space. My contention, drawing on mainly Lefebvre’s and Massey’s investigations, is that space is produced and is simultaneously a product embodied by the characters. In addition, I analyse how a particular territory – the desert – enacts the nature of space, as defined before, in selected works by T. E. Lawrence, Wilfred Thesiger and Paul Bowles. Also, I argue that this conception of space is explored in some narratives of Paul Auster - CG, MC and CLT - in part II. Further, I examine other features of space. I contend that Auster’s writing explores space as a realm upon which Auster’s characters engage in a process of construction and disintegration both of space and their identity. Therefore, here, space is considered as a sphere constituted by a process of an ever-opened, changing and ongoing interrelation with the characters and the text. Finally, although space is presented in this essay as the major tool for investigation through composition and critical analysis, other tools, intrinsically, and I argue inseparable in fact, I proceed to an investigation, in part III, of notions of time, identity, writing and narrator in my creative work. Beside these, I investigate particularly the relationships between characters. The thesis concludes by demonstrating that writing as space evolves in more subtle, more transient and labyrinthian ways through the reference to other writers whose writing has significantly influenced my creative work.
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