included Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud. This trend continued
throughout the seventies and most of the 1980s, when younger
novelists such as Don DeLillo and PaulAuster, who seemed to owe
more to Thomas Pynchon than to Roth, established themselves, and
the work of African-American novelists, most notably Alice Walker
and Toni Morrison, threatened to eclipse that of their Jewish-American
peers. The publication of The Counterlife in 1986, however, signalled
the beginning of Roth’s second coming and over the course of the
1990s he was indeed often treated as the
) claims that Joyce himself insists
that the twelve questions are asked by Shem of Shaun, others (such as
Fargnoli and Gillespie, in James Joyce: A to Z, pp. 80–81) suggest the
first eleven questions are asked by Shem of Shaun, but the final twelfth
question is asked by Shaun.
25 Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 136.7.
Textual spectrality and Finnegans Wake
26 Samuel Beckett, ‘Dante … Bruno. Vico … Joyce,’ Samuel Beckett:
The Grove Centenary Edition, Vol. 4. Ed. PaulAuster (New York:
Grove Press, 2006), p. 503. ‘Here form
Famine and the Western Front in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
trainload, the other let a natural disaster run
6 McCormack, From Burke to Beckett, p. 382.
7 Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot. In Samuel Beckett: The Grove
Centenary Edition. Vol 3. Ed. PaulAuster (New York: Grove Press,
2006), p. 72.
8 James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (New
York: Grove Press, 1996), p. 273.
9 Knowlson, Damned to Fame, p. 278.
10 According to a letter written on 20 May 1992 by Gervase Cowell,
British Special Operations Executive Adviser, to James Knowlson, ‘The
letters reversed the initials of “His
concerned with a man’s belief that he is a train
(Stories and Plays, 73–80). For another fraternal variant see Robert Coover’s
‘The Brother’ (Pricksongs & Descants, 92–8). Note may also be taken of
Willem de Kooning’s pencil drawing Self-Portrait with Imaginary Brother
(1938), cited in PaulAuster’s novel Oracle Night (2004).
13 In addition to alluding to the culture of the ancient Ionian city of Miletus,
‘Milesian’, in Irish mythology, refers to ‘a member of a group of people from
a royal Spanish family who invaded Ireland about 1300 BC and became the
ancestors of the
events in New York in particular.14
These included McEwan’s Saturday, Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and
Incredibly Close (2005), Updike’s Terrorist (2006) and DeLillo’s Falling
Man (2007), novels that are now studied as key examples of ‘9/11 fiction’ because they recreate either the events of that day or the year that
followed. More established authors would also reference the attacks
as an epochal shift in the consciousness of the Western world. PaulAuster’s The Brooklyn Follies (2005) used ‘9/11’ as shorthand for presidential change and to signal the end of the
Research in Art History, Anyway?,’ in Michael Ann
Holly and Marquard Smith (eds.), What is Research in the Visual Arts? Obsession,
Archive, Encounter (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,
2008), p. 10. Holly cites Maurice Blanchot’s thoughts on writing and dread to arrive
at this formulation. For more, see Maurice Blanchot, ‘From Dread to Language,’ in
The Station Hill Blanchot Reader: Fiction and Literary Essays, trans. Lydia Davis,
PaulAuster, and Robert Lamberton (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1998), pp.
Citational theory and contemporary characterisation
provide a sense not of ontological transparency but of instability and evanes-
Apparitions of the real
cence. This move means that the site of performance is the space not of the
now, but, to borrow PaulAuster’s words, of ‘memory: the space in which
a thing happens for the second time’ (Auster, 1988: 83, cited in Savran,
In memory, as in history, the past cannot exist beyond the construction
of those in the present, and so the Wooster Group’s long tradition of
performers who are ‘haunted by those absent others whom they reference’
is here taken to a
Jones, Conrad and Women, p. 145.
Conrad, Chance, p. 213.
Jones, Conrad and Women, p.148.
Jones, Conrad and Women, p. 83.
Jones, Conrad and Women, p. 154.
Conrad, Chance, pp. 127, 292.
Conrad, Chance, p. vii.
Paul F. Mattheisen, Arthur C. Young and Pierre Coustillas (eds), The
Collected Letters of George Gissing, 1902–3, Volume Nine (Ohio: Ohio
University Press, 1997), p. 84.
Jones, Conrad and Women, pp. 159–60.
Jones, Conrad and Women, p. 115.
Maurice Blanchot, The Station Hill Blanchot Reader: Fiction and Literary
Essays, trans. Lydia Davis, PaulAuster and Robert
Generic experimentation in My Life as a Man, The Counterlife, The Facts, Deception and Operation Shylock
to fall into two camps: those who write about –
and champion – postmodernist fiction, and those who focus on – and
defend – more realist forms of fiction. This ideological polarisation
has resulted in the creation of two, largely discrete canons of
contemporary American fiction: a postmodernist canon that includes
Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, John Barth, Donald Barthelme,
Robert Coover, Don DeLillo, PaulAuster and Bret Easton Ellis; and a
realist canon that includes Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, John
The ‘credible incredible’
Updike, Richard Ford, Alison
Philip Roth’s I Married a Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000)
are scrutinised, and in which the relationship between friendship and politics is explored in the very structure of the narrative he tells. He may not invite Murray to stay over, but Nathan offers him something else: the novel itself is a kind of ‘gift’ of their friendship, an idea I explore in more detail in the next chapter, in relation to PaulAuster’s work.
Roth gave a eulogy for Lowenstein, and I Married a Communist is Nathan’s tribute to Murray. This comparison clarifies something often overlooked: that Murray has died before Nathan begins writing the