Christine Marks’ monograph is, surprisingly, the first book-length study of Siri Hustvedt’s oeuvre. Even though Hustvedt is an internationally renowned writer and scholar with a remarkable opus of so far five novels, four essay collections, and a memoir, her name is often related to her famous husband, Paul Auster. Maybe it is for this reason that the topic of relationality and relational identity formation, as Marks claims, pervades Hustvedt’s work. Marks, who completed her Ph.D. in American Studies in Mainz and is now an associate professor at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), approaches Hustvedt’s complex work by tracing the philosophical, psychoanalytical, neurobiological, medical, and esthetic discourses that have shaped Hustvedt’s conception of self and other. In focusing on topics such as the gaze, embodiment, illness, and grief, Marks demonstrates how Hustvedt’s fictional and nonfictional work explores relationality as a counter-concept to the Cartesian Cogito model (9). Hustvedt exemplifies intersubjective relationality through her characters when she investigates the ambiguous state of boundaries that exists whenever the ‘I’ can only know of itself through the other; or, as Violet puts it in Hustvedt’s novel What I Loved: “I am because you are” (9). From Violet, Marks also adopts a “philosophy of mixing”
Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 28, 2018
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