Abstract

Most literary criticism of Ghosts (1986) by Paul Auster (1947–) have focused on the relationship with postmodernism and American Renaissance literature. By contrast, this research compares Paul Auster’s Ghosts with The Ruined Map (1967) by Abe Kōbō (1924–1993) through the medium of allusions to paintings by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). Both Abe and Auster commonly wrote about disappearance and identity crisis in urban space. In The Ruined Map, there is a “Picasso lithograph” in the room of a client who asks a detective to find her missing husband. This lithograph, clipped out of a magazine and depicting a woman looking up and left, was quoted from Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung, 1915) by Franz Kafka (1883–1924). Metamorphosis contains a picture, which depicted a woman and lost its “aura” through being clipped out of a magazine. Being influenced by Kafka, the “Picasso lithograph” appears in The Ruined Map. This lithograph paradoxically represents existentialistic material in urban space through phenomenological reduction. In Ghosts, it is important that all female characters cry. Their tears represent the “process of mourning” that works against “ghosts” as lost possibilities. At that time, Jacque Derrida (1930–2004) also argues the theme of possibilities. Auster connected the theme of disappearance from the present life (context) with possibilities as well as Derrida. Moreover, there is another hidden “Weeping Woman.” She is Picasso’s The Weeping Woman (1937). The names of main characters of Ghosts, such as Blue or Black, indicate the colors in The Weeping Woman. Hence, Auster wrote Ghosts under the influence of Abe, Picasso, and Derrida.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2383-9899
Print ISSN
2092-6081
Pages
pp. 147-166
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-06
Open Access
No
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