Self-mythology Through Trauma Studies in Paul Auster’s Invention of Solitude

Mohammad Amin Shirkhani


Auster’s first novel The Invention of Solitude was significant, in that it not only catalogued his own experiences, but also provided one of the earliest examples of the psychological processes involved in trauma and memory storage. It demonstrates the self’s psychological use of the Ego, in a classical sense, to negotiate between emotional response and reality, in order to create meaning around a set of events. More specifically, the death of Auster’s father operates as a catalyst for the author’s journey of self-discovery, which is richly tied to the psychoanalytical principles of Freud and Lacan, and which ultimately allows him to fully appreciate his experience of loss, by supporting the wish fulfillment related to his relationship with his father, and his need to understand the rejection he perceives suffering as a child. This highlights the difference between the inner child’s ego-centric or narcissistic perception, and the adult’s ability to rationalize, especially as it relates to memory and unfulfilled need.


Paul Auster, psychoanalysis, Trauma, Memory, Self-myth

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