The University of Texas at Austin
Physical Representation of Post-Structuralist Ideas in the The New York Trilogy
Max Friedman E377M: The American Novel After 1960 Professor Johanna Hartmann 12.12.2014
Table of Contents
I. Introduction…………………………………………………………… 3
II. A Look into Post-Structuralist Philosophical Theory….….…………… 4
III. Physical Representation of Post-Structuralism in City of Glass………. 5
IV. Physical Representation of Post-Structuralism in Ghosts……….……. 9
V. Physical Representation of Post-Structuralism in The Locked Room…. 11
VI. Conclusion……………………………………………………………. 15
VII. Works Cited………………………………………………………….. 18
Friedman 3 I. Introduction There is a gap between meaning and representation in the human language as words can not accurately represent the things they have been created to describe. This phenomenon is heavily meditated on in Post-Structuralist thinking, most prominently in the philosophy of Jacque Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes and others. A school of thought known as a critique on Structuralism, this philosophy theorizes the gap between signifier and signified, an idea that has been explored in literature, and specifically in the post-modernist context. This idea comes to the fore in the three novels that comprise Paul Austerâ€™s *New York Trilogy*. The endings of each of the novels in the trilogy are left unresolved, open-ended, and open to interpretation. The concept presented is that the search for meaning is inherently paradoxical. In each novel, the protagonists strive to define a person: Quinn struggles to find meaning in Peter Stillmanâ€™s movements, Blue works to understand Blackâ€™s motives, and the writer in *The Locked Room *chases down Fanshawe in order to understand his actions. During each of their respective processes, the protagonists find that in order to define their targets, they must become one with them. In becoming their targets however, they disassociate themselves from reality, leading fragmented and surreal lifestyles. Each story culminates with a deadly event, leaving the protagonist lost and alone. Post-structuralism offers a theory to this seemingly unfulfilled conclusion, it offers an explanation for the apparent disorder and ambiguity in the *New York Trilogy*. The protagonist goes to tremendous lengths to define their subject, completely disassociating themselves from reality in the process. Through irrational behavior and relentless work, they ultimately become one with their targets, and each of the respective novels come to faltering conclusions. Through detailed and sustained explanation of this process of unity and final collapse in the contexts of each novel, the similarity to post-
Friedman 4 structuralist philosophy becomes apparent. Ultimately showing that the protagonist and their quest for definition illustrate the theoretical conflict between signifier and signified. Though the irrational actions and unresolved endings seem to evade meaning, post-structuralist philosophy offers a guiding principle for these mysteries. II. A Look into Post-Structuralist Philosophical Theory The pioneer of this post-structuralist concept was a french philosopher called Jacque Derrida. In Derrida’s view “word and thing or thought never in fact become one,” (Sarup, 33). The two halves never truly make a whole in this equation and it is impossible to find a clear distinction between the two elements. A helpful visual example is the act of reading of a sign (Sarup, 33). When a person reads a sign they are seeing a representation of something that is not in fact there. A sign warning drivers that school children frequently pass at a particular intersection shows drawings of children, not the actual children themselves. Following this logic, “Signs refer to what is absent, so in a sense meanings are absent, too,” (Sarup, 33). If one can only see a representation of a particular object, then said object is not present and can not certainly be said to exist. In the case of language one can only see the word in front of them; the meaning behind the word is less tangible. An equally central point is described in Derrida’s assertion that language is a temporal process. A meaning that is clear at the beginning of a sentence could be completely altered by the end of the sentence. (Sarup, 34). In that regard “Meaning is never identical with itself: because a sign appears in different contexts it is never absolutely the same. Meaning will never stay quite the same from context to context ; the signified will be altered by the various chains of signifiers in which it is entangled,” (Sarup, 34). Depending on the context of the signifier, the signified can have entirely different meanings. As a result of this variation, the human language becomes increasingly unstable.
Friedman 5 The battle of signifier and signified is also meditated on in the works of Roland Barthes, a philosopher who started out as a structuralist but found himself moving to post-structuralism later on. He conceived of two possible methods of reading a text; the readerly and the writerly. (Olsen, 184). In the readerly text, the “passage from signifier to signified is clear, established and without contradictions,” (Olsen, 184). Throughout the text, meaning is presented in a logical and unified manner. By contrast, the writerly text is more disconnected and open to interpretation. It “admits no easy passage between signifier and signified,” (Olsen, 184). Barthes advocated for this method of reading because he thought it to be more interactive and engaging. If we are simply handed the meaning, we remain but readers of the text. However, if we must work to deconstruct the meaning we in fact become writers of the text. Writerly texts “invite us to ‘join in’, and offer us some kind of ‘co-authorship’,” (Olsen, 185).
III. Physical Representation of Post-Structuralism in City of Glass The first novel of the trilogy, *City of Glass* focuses on a detective named Quinn and the events that unfold after he is presented with a challenging case. A man named Peter Stillman has been released from jail, and it is Quinn’s job to make sure Stillman stays away from his son, whom he has threatened to kill in the past. Discovering that Stillman used to be a scholar, Quinn ventures to the library to look further into the case. Stillman has written a book which focuses in part on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Several paradoxes become apparent to Quinn as he reads the work, including a thought on “the word ‘cleave,’ which means both ‘to join together’ and ‘to break apart,’ thus embodying two equal and opposite significations, which in turn embodies a view of language that Stillman found to be present in all of Milton’s work,” (Auster, 43). Stillman accredits this paradox to the fall of man in biblical terms. Adam was tasked with inventing human
Friedman 6 language; he gave names to the various things that he saw, making those objects and their names interchangeable (Auster, 43). After the fall of man, however the names became detached from their meaning. In that sense, the fall is what created the gap between meaning and language. Derrida’s concept of signifier and signified come into play here in the form of words and objects. The signifiers have lost their meaning and therefore are interchangeable with their signifieds. This idea is touched upon in Marc Chénetier’s “Paul Auster’s Pseudonymous World,” an essay from a book entitled The Red Notebook. Chénetier weighs in on the ambiguity of language in the trilogy, pondering the veiled presence of meaning. He offers that “between the lines nothing ever hides but the white, insistent obscenity of a nonsense, which words clumsily attempt to cover up, and that runes and signs, mysterious and senseless, suggest all the better as they do not name it,” (Chénetier, 43). Referring again to the idea that though words attempt to convey a certain meaning they are inherently flawed. Suggesting further that visual representation may be more accurate than names as it does not lose meaning in the process. Chénetier reiterates poststructuralist philosophy with the notion that “Even when attempting to refound language into a world, one cannot read out of reality any more than what one inscribes on it, nor decipher any more of the real than what one has fed into it: the world is always pseudonymous, since names do not correspond to things and names create for the world a reality that it may not have,” (Chenetier, 43). Names are inherently meaningless and in their attempts to create meaning they can instead create an illusion of reality. Stillman accredits this gap to the original sin of Adam and Eve. Quinn continues tracking Stillman and begins to move and act like his subject, devoting his entire life to the case. The only aspect of Stillman that he cannot access is his thought process, so Quinn decides that he must confront Stillman in order to truly understand him, which ends up
Friedman 7 being a lot easier than he had anticipated. Stillman is open to talk and as it turns out he is writing another book. The idea that language is inherently fragmented is one that has stuck with Stillman, and he has now focused his efforts on fixing this problem. Stillman has been devising a new language, one that will “at last say what we have to say. For our words no longer correspond to the world,” (Auster, 77). He has been picking up broken items all around New York city in an effort to study and devise new names for them. According to him, once an object is broken its name no longer pertains to its function, and “it can no longer express the thing,” (Auster, 77). Quinn’s process of following Stillman is thus layered on top of Stillman’s quest to catalogue broken items and devise a new language for said objects. There is however another proposed layer in terms of post-structuralist philosophy. The conflict between signifier and signified is identified as one entity struggling to properly define the other, to the extent that the two entities becomes entangled. In that respect, Quinn is an embodiment of the signifier, as he is constantly struggling to understand the actions of Stillman, representing the signified. The objects on the streets of New York City are broken, as is Peter Stillman. He cannot be properly defined and in that respect Quinn begins to feel that he may not be able to find a definite answer in his case. This idea is touched upon in Madeline Sorapure’s “The Detective and the Author: City of Glass,” another essay in the book entitled Beyond the Red Notebook. Quinn contemplates the idea of fate, and how it may not be defined in the traditional sense. Instead of it being an “indicative, overarching design that directs actions, promises causality and inevitability and can be discovered retrospectively, Quinn comes to define fate as the condition of things as they are,” (Sorapure, 82). In that sense, there is no definite answer that can be achieved through ordinary means. Quinn must keep trying, however, as the signifier never ceases its attempts at proper definition. In this process he must become one with Stillman in order to truly understand him, and inevitably to
Friedman 8 truly define him. Stillman, a broken object himself, offers a disastrous fate as in order for the two characters to truly become one, Quinn must break himself. Without warning Stillman disappears and the story begins a downward spiral. At a loss for what to do he begins to live in the alley outside of the apartment belonging to Stillman’s son and in general terms he begins to “lose his grip,” (Auster, 111). He stops eating regularly, he never leaves his post, and eventually begins sleeping in 15 minute increments. Eventually he cannot hold out and seeks the help of his friend Paul Auster, who promptly informs him that Stillman had committed suicide two months prior. He discovers that his life has been erased in the months he was hiding out in the alley, and that the only place he has left to go is the son’s apartment. He spends the rest of his days there writing in his notebook. This period is very vague, but “little by little, Quinn was coming to an end,” (Auster, 128). At the end of the novel, Quinn is a broken and lost man. In his quest to understand Stillman, he has completely destroyed his own identity. In his perpetual quest to define the signified, the signifier has lost himself. Stillman further breaks himself with the act of suicide, and Quinn is left with no choice but to follow suit. He does not intentionally kill himself, but life has become completely deprived of meaning for him. He finishes his days sleeping on the floor of the bathroom in Stillman’s apartment; writing in his red notebook, holding onto the records of his quest however futile they may be. IV. Physical Representation of Post-Structuralism in Ghosts In the second novel of the trilogy entitled *Ghosts*, the protagonist appears in the form of a detective named Blue. He was been hired by a man named White to watch and follow a man named Black, and one begins to see that Auster has begun to play with the traditional conventions of identity. The fact that the characters have only colors for names hints at the fallibility of words. The names of the characters will never accurately represent them, so why not just name them
Friedman 9 after colors? The task presented for Blue is simply to live in the apartment across from Black and record his observations in a weekly report. He finds the writing of these reports to be exceedingly mundane as Black never does anything of interest. Black sits at his desk writing, reading, and occasionally looking out the window. As Blue delves into the reports he realizes that he cannot truly communicate what he wishes to say. He finds that “words do not necessarily work, that it is possible for them to obscure the things they are trying to say,” (Auster, 145). This feeling becomes overwhelming when he looks across the street at Black’s room. He cannot define this man even in the simple sense it requires to write a report of his actions. Blue claims that “He is there, but it’s impossible to see him. And even when I do see him it’s as though the lights are out,” (Auster, 175). This futile task is discussed in Paul Jabshan’s “Auster’s Specters”, an essay that focuses specifically on the novel. He notes that “Blue was looking for answers, for signifieds which would nicely fit with the signifiers he was witnessing. Black, a giant signifier put in place by White as a decoy yielded no signified, yielded no substance capable of being analyzed and entered into interpretive reports,” (Jabshan, 402). The quest presented has no substance; what Jabshan refers to in the text as a hollow, ghost-like entity. In addition, he suggests that writer and reader will derive a sense of enjoyment from reading this text, and from attempting desperately to define that which has no meaning. In reading the text, “the more one wanders into the hitherto supplementalized regions of the text, and the more one wanders away from an ultimate signified to be caught by all means, the more in tune with the potentials of the text one becomes,” (Jabshan, 403). An idea that Barthes focused heavily on, and one that is echoed throughout the novel. Time begins to pass very rapidly and Blue continues pursuing the case in spite of its apparently meaningless. Eventually, he begins to find himself feeling closer and closer
Friedman 10 to Black. This feeling manifests in the form of a paradox, as “the closer he feels to Black, the less he finds it necessary to think about him. In other words, the more deeply entangled he becomes, the freer he is,” (Auster, 155). It becomes apparent that Blue is following the same treacherous path that Quinn followed in the previous novel. He begins to define himself as a part of Black and the two characters subsequently begin to merge together. This loss of identity has a drastic impact on his surroundings as Blue begins to disassociate himself from reality. He notes that “each thing is distinct from every other thing, wholly separate and defined,” (Auster, 156). At the onset of this disassociation, he attempts to fight back in some regard. He waits at the mailbox that White is to retrieve his report from and when a man in a mask shows up Blue chases him through the city. However, his efforts provide no further answers and he is scolded for his attempts. He falls deeper into the mystery, to the point that it completely takes over his life. He says out loud to himself “I can’t breathe anymore. This is the end, I’m dying,” (Auster, 168). In spite of this feeling of dread he carries on and continues to pursue Black. One night, Blue follows Black into Manhattan and starts a conversation with him at a bar. In a cunning ploy, Black takes on the role of Blue in the conversation, describing that he is a detective working on a case seemingly identical to that of Blue. Continuing the joke, Blue questions Black if he knows whether or not his subject knows he is being watched, to which Black replies that he has to know. This sentiment confuses Blue, and Black clarifies it with “Because he needs me…He needs my eyes looking at him. He needs me to prove he’s alive,” (Auster, 178). In this moment one is able to see the total convergence of the two characters. In his quest to understand Black, Blue has become a part of him and in fact relies on him to prove his own existence. This realization incites a great deal of fear in Blue, ultimately inspiring the necessity for conflict. Blue cannot live this way any longer and he must truly confront Black. The tricky part as Blue theorizes, is that “To enter Black, then,
Friedman 11 was the equivalent of entering himself, and once inside himself, he can no longer conceive of being anywhere else,” (Auster 186). Consequently, the act of killing Black would be suicidal in some respect. Upon entering Black’s apartment, he finds that Black has been receiving the reports from White, and that he in fact very well may himself be White. The writing that Black occupied all of his time with was Blue’s own story, and as Black puts it, “You’ve written your own suicide note, and that’s the end of it.” Blue proceeds to bludgeon Black to death, and Blue disappears completely afterwards. Black has been killed and Blue’s identity has been lost; a conclusion that mirrors that of the first novel. Again in the eternal quest of signification by the signifier, the protagonist has become lost in the space in between. Black turned out only to be Blue himself, representing the interchangeability of signifier and signified. In killing Black, Blue thus kills part of himself and is forever lost in the paradox. The second novel exhibits a slightly more ambiguous story but follows the same thematic ideas of the first. V. Physical Expression of Post-Structuralism in The Locked Room In terms of the names given to central characters, Auster continues an increasing theme of ambiguity. Instead of making the main character’s name a color, he gives him no name at all. For all intents and purposes his name can be understood as being ‘the writer’. Continuing the theme of pursuit, the writer is brought into the disappearance case of his childhood best friend called Fanshawe. It is understood that the two were very close at a young age, “He was the one who was with me, the one who shared my thoughts, the one I saw whenever I looked up from myself,” (Auster, 195). Fanshawe has disappeared and his wife Sophie is carrying out his wish of entrusting the writer to assemble her husband’s work. Confused with the proposition, the writer is unsure what to do but he feels compelled to get involved in the situation. Upon learning that Fanshawe had always spoken highly of him and had followed up with the writer’s work over the
Friedman 12 years, he “succumbed to the flattery of a man who wasn’t there, and in that moment of weakness [he] said yes; [he’ll] be glad to read the work, [he said], and do whatever [he] can to help,” (Auster, 204). The quest to assemble Fanshawe’s work thus begins and the weight of the task is readily apparent to the writer. He is creating an image for the missing man, the works that he assemble will define Fanshawe’s legacy. Carrying the works down the stairs he notes “Together, they were as heavy as a man,” (Auster, 204). Reminiscing on his early days with Fanshawe, the writer remembers feeling very drawn to him. They were extremely close, yet the writer could not help but feel that there was a deep inaccessible part of Fanshawe (Auster, 208). At times he “would get so close to Fanshawe, would admire him so intensely, would want so desperately to measure up to him—and then, suddenly, a moment would come when [he] realized that he was alien…” (Auster, 208). This struggle for understanding is discussed in Alex Segal’s “Secrecy and the Gift: Paul Auster's The Locked Room.” Segal discusses the relationship between writing and seeing, focusing on the apparent gap between the two. “Belief in the fusion of writing and seeing implies that the human subject is accessible to the gaze,” (Segal, 252). The gap presented is another representation of the gap between signifier and signifier, as the two struggle to come together but are fundamentally polar. Theoretically one human should be able to understand another, but this is not the case with the writer and Fanshawe. “We have seen that the narrator sought unsuccessfully to penetrate Fanshawe’s inwardness by trying to see what he was seeing…” (Segal, 252). It is now solidified in his memory that part of Fanshawe is inaccessible and that he was never able to really understand him. With his newfound task this desire to access the secret part of Fanshawe has been brought back to life. The writer must define this man because as he understands it “Stories happen only to those who are able to tell them,” (Auster,
Friedman 13 216). If the writer is unable to tell the story of Fanshawe’s life, then he feels that it did not really occur. Furthermore, the writer may be able to live vicariously through Fanshawe by reading his work. Perhaps the unaccessible part of the man will become exposed in the process. The motivation is there, however Fanshawe has not made this process simple. In the works he notes that “there is nothing. Fanshawe had left [him] entirely on [his] own,” (Auster, 219). Though his works may be complex, the writer is able to immediately access Fanshawe’s day-to-day life, most notably through his wife Sophie. They begin to spend a lot of time together; calling each other several times a week and going out on dinner dates. What starts as a goodnight kiss turns into a full-on romance, as he “spent the night in Sophie’s bed, and then from then it became impossible to leave it,” (Auster, 230). He is now living in Fanshawe’s home, and sleeping with his wife. In addition, he begins to get Fanshawe’s work through the publishing process. The work is exceedingly successful and the writer finds himself in a startlingly large position of power. His power leads him to consider becoming Fanshawe in the literary sense, meaning that it would be “perfectly possible for [him] to write another book or two under [Fanshawe’s] name…” (Auster, 232). Before he can act on this desire, he receives a shocking letter in the mail from none other than Fanshawe. The letter urges the writer to marry Fanshawe’s wife and take care of his son, but also instructs him to not attempt finding him (Fanshawe, 233). Though worried by the letter, the writer continues on with his work. He decides that he will keep this knowledge a secret, and carry on as if Fanshawe was indeed dead. He could not help feeling, however that “he was digging a grave, after all, and there were times when [he] began to wonder if [he] was not digging [his] own,” (Auster, 246). The concept seen in the previous two novels of the protagonist merging identities with his subject again comes into play. He has put himself completely in his subject’s shoes. He has wife, his son, his name, and now he has the sudden feeling that he shares his
Friedman 14 mortality. This realization forces the writer to ponder the sensibility of life, “Lives make no sense, [he] argued. A man lives and then he dies, and what happens in between makes no sense,” (Auster, 246). Though profound this realization does not serve to advance the plot of the novel until he truly grasps the implication. The events of life are so uncertain, the writer argues, that “it would seem impossible to say anything about a man until he is dead,” (Auster, 248). The writer has to figuratively bury Fanshawe; he must create a sense of meaning and finality in the man’s life. This act is simply impossible knowing that the real man is still alive. The writer cannot adequately do his job if Fanshawe is still out there, so he must kill him. At this point in the novel, the writer begins fervently searching for Fanshawe. He follows various leads pertaining to his whereabouts in recent years, which take him to several countries around the world. Every where he goes nobody has any useful information about him. After searching for months he decides to take a trip to Paris, as he knows Fanshawe had spent some time there in the past. In Paris, the man we know as the writer begins to unravel. Over the past few years he has become Fanshawe, taking over every aspect of his life. Alone in his house in Paris, realizes “After all these months of trying to find him, I felt as though I was the one who had been found,” (Auster, 286). His image of Fanshawe is inaccessible, taking the form of a locked room (Auster, 286). Fanshawe is eternally unattainable, the writer realizes. Furthermore, the closed room, “was located inside [his] skull,” (Auster, 286). Again the two entities of the novel have merged into one person. In his never-ending quest to find Fanshawe, the writer has become him, and now feels controlled by him. At this realization, the writer begins the all too familiar process of selfdestruction. For a month he is belligerently intoxicated and is constantly engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes. He believes that this is the right thing to do, “if the point was to obliterate Fanshawe,” (Auster, 287). After this month of excess, he believes that not only has he
Friedman 15 gotten rid of Fanshawe, he has gotten rid of himself. He returns to the United States and is uncertain for another three years, when finally he receives a letter beckoning him to come to Boston. The confrontation between protagonist and antagonist occurs in a an old rundown house in Boston, where Fanshawe speaks to the writer through a locked door. Fanshawe explains his actions to the writer and gives him a red notebook. The writer is led to believe that Fanshawe has taken poison and will soon die. Leaving the house the writer is very disoriented, but he manages to work his way through the red notebook. Serving as an even more striking metaphor, the red notebook is completely incomprehensible. The writer notes that “each sentence erased the sentence before it, each paragraph made the next paragraph impossible,” (Auster, 307). The inconclusiveness of the novel is discussed in Stephen Bernstein’s essay entitled ‘Auster’s Sublime Closure’ from the collection The Red Notebook. “In a very real sense [The Locked Room] has no ending, but rather defers ending just as the trilogy’s two previous volumes have,” (Bernstein, 99). Instead of having a clear resolution, the ending evokes a sentiment equivalent to a ‘to be continued…’” In spite of this novel being the third and final of the series, it ends with just as much ambiguity. It would seem that the novel should not conclude in such an unsettling manner “but in actuality this is precisely how the novel closes,” (Bernstein, 100). To attempt concluding the novel in an orderly manner would go against the trend of increasing ambiguity throughout. In order for the final novel to follow post-structuralist philosophy, one must find themselves no closer to the answer than when they started. The writer, lost and confused, tears the red notebook up and leaves it behind. VI. Conclusion With a basic understanding of post-structuralist philosophy some of the ambiguities of postmodern literature can be eliminated. In the case of Paul Auster’s *New York Trilogy*, these
Friedman 16 concepts prove to be vital. Most importantly, Jacques Derridaâ€™s concept of signifier and signified are crucial in the interpretation of the novels. Upon first reading the trilogy, one can be easily confused and even put off by the dominant themes of ambiguity and meaninglessness. However as Roland Barthes suggests, a text that forces the reader to work to find meaning is ultimately more rewarding. By making the novels cryptic and unresolved Auster demands the reader to do more than simply absorb the information given to them; he insists that the reader think critically and dissect the intricacies of the novel. This text is as such and though there are several equally valid interpretations, using the lens of post-structuralist philosophy leads to a dynamic and sustained comprehension of an otherwise abstract series of novels. On a surface level the concept of the gap between signifier and signified helps one understand the characterâ€™s musings on language and meaning. In each novel the characters mention their difficulty with using language, citing that it rarely feels like an accurate mechanism for dealing with their respective tasks. As one digs deeper though, the concept offers a much more holistic interpretation of the happenings in the trilogy. By understanding this theoretical gap one comes to comprehend the almost frustrating inconclusiveness of each novel. Since the protagonist and the antagonist are representations of signifier and signified, the novels can be understood as physical representations of a theoretical conflict. This constant state of flux is what drives the action of the novels; the perpetual unity and destruction of opposing forces. The theoretical conflict can be never truly be resolved, and in that way the novels must too be inconclusive. Though this interpretation may not appease the undeniable desire for conclusion, it at least provides a sense of logic to the apparent disorder. By using the characters in this way, Auster goes to great lengths to illustrate the depth of this philosophical dilemma. Through the use of post-structuralist philosophy as an interpretive focus, the novels begin open up to the reader in an engaging and
Friedman 17 challenging way. The trilogy, initially confusing and dense, becomes a colorful and articulate illustration of an thought-provoking concept.
Friedman 18 VII. Works Cited
- Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin, 1990. Print. - Bernstein, Stephen. “Auster’s Sublime Closure.” Beyond the Red Notebook Essays on Paul Auster. Ed. Dennis Barone. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1995. Print.
- Chénetier, Mark. ”Paul Auster's Pseudonymous World.” Beyond the Red Notebook Essays on Paul Auster. Ed. Dennis Barone. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1995. Print.
- Jabshan, Paul. “Paul Auster's Specters.” Journal of American Studies 73.3 (2003): 389-405. Cambridge Journals. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <journals.cambridge.org>
- Olsen, Bjornar. "Roland Barthes: From Sign to Text." Reading Material Culture: Structuralism, Hermeneutics, and Post-structuralism. Ed. Christopher Y. Tilley. Oxford, UK: B. Blackwell, 1990. Print.
- Sarup, Madan. "Derrida and Deconstruction.” An Introductory Guide to Post-structuralism and Postmodernism. 2nd ed. Athens: U of Georgia, 1993. Print.
- Segal, Alex. "Secrecy and the Gift: Paul Auster’s The Locked Room" CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 39.3 (1998): 239-57. Taylor and Francis Online.Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <tandfonline.com>
- Sorapure, Madeline. “The Detective and the Author: City of Glass.” Beyond the Red Notebook Essays on Paul Auster. Ed. Dennis Barone. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 1995. Print.