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The question of identity and the perception of the self in "Timbuktu" by Paul Auster
Año del Documento
ES: Revista de filología inglesa, 2002, N.24, pags.87-100
Timbuktu (2000) is the last narrative experiment written by the post-modernist writer Paul Auster (Newark, 1947). The experiment consists on providing a dog with all the intelligence and the language of a human being. At the same time, the novel is a quest for a "personal" identity. It is a trip to freedom, a trip to Timbuktu. Even though Auster's Timbuktu has something of mythological or illusory, it is definitely not the real geographical place in Africa, as the reader may have suspected. The outcome is more symbolic. The purpose of this article is to analyse, through a thorough textual analysis, those symbols, that trip to Timbuktu and how the question of identity and the self is treated by the author.Our aim is to deal with those symbols, with the identity and the self, aspects which give Timbuktu whole meaning, altogether with autobiography and magic realism: Symbols which will take us to the house of Edgar Allan Poe or lo the land of the Pre-Socratic philosophers. A search for identity through the senses of a dog with the name of a man, with a soul, with intelligence and whose knowledge goes further than the knowledge any ordinary dog could have, including, cultural and philosophical learning. And the self when the own dog is able lo choose "his" own destiny. Everything connected and linked by the autobiography of the author and the whole set of features from the Jewish tradition in literature.
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