Finding Ghosts in a “No Man’s Land”: Žižekian Subjects in Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy

Nafise Shajani


The present article is an attempt to investigate Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy in the light of Žižek’s Hegel-inspired theorization about subjectivity. It studies Hegelian themes of “absolute negativity” and the “night of the world” that figure prominently in theorization of the Žižekian subject. In so doing, it argues how the characters of The New York Trilogy experience their immediate surroundings as “absolute negativity,” as a “no man’s land” that is eclipsed by the “night of the world,” and how as empty points of negativity they see the need for the transition from a state of nature to that of culture, so that giving birth to their subjectivity. By dividing the procedure between two groups of characters, it tries to show how desperately both try but fail in their attempts to become a subject, that is why ghosts frequent New York’s streets, and not the real subjects.


Subject, subjectivization, “absolute negativity”, “night of the world”, “empty point of negativity”

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